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itf ALIF . UBttAA Y. 



The First Morning in the Glen . . 5 

Blanche Clifford . - 19 

Morag's Home 87 

The Fir-wood ' . . .53 

A Discovery 75 


Kirsty Macpherson 104 


Morag's Visit to Kir sty, and How It Came About . 140 

Tfte Gypsies At Last 157 

Vanity Fair 205 



The Kirk in the Village 219 

T/ie Loch 244 

The Empty Hut 274 

Back in London 288 

' XIV. 
Visit to the Fairy 806 

A Bide in the Park 318 


TJie Borders of the Far-off Land . . . .831 

Moray's Journey into the World Beyond the 

Mountains 348 

M O R A G 



|O you know the joyous feeling of open- 
ing your eyes on the first morning after 
your arrival among new scenes, and of 
seeing the landscape, which has been 
shrouded by darkness on the previous evening, 
lying clear and calm in the bright morning 
sunlight ? 

This was Blanche Clifford's experience as 
she stood at an eastward window, with an 
eager face, straining her eye across miles of 
moorland, which undulated far away, like pur- 
ple seas lying in the golden light. Away, and 
up and on stretched the heather, till it seemed 
to rear itself into great waves of rock, which 
stood out clear and distinct, with the sunlight 
glinting into the gray, waterworn fissures, 
lighting them up like a smile on a wrinkled 

6 MO RAG. 

face. And beyond, in the dim distance, hills 
on hills are huddled, rearing themselves in 
dark lowering masses against the blue sky, like 
the shoulders of mighty monsters in a struggle 
for the nearest place to the clouds. For many 
weeks Blanche had been dreaming dreams and 
seeing visions of this scene, as she sat in her 
London schoolroom. " And this is Glen 
Eagle ! " she murmured, with a satisfied sigh, 
when at last she turned her eyes from the more 
distant landscape, and climbing into the em- 
brasured window of the quaint old room in 
which she awoke that morning, leant out to try 
and discover what sort of a building this new 
home might be. A perpendicular, gaunt wall, 
so lichen-spotted that it seemed as if the stones 
had taken to growing, was all that she could 
see; and under it there stretched a smooth 
grassy slope, belted by a grove of ancient ash- 
trees. A pleasant breeze, wafting a delicious 
scent of heather, came in at the open window, 
and played among Blanche's curls, reminding 
her how delightful it would be to go out under 
the blue sky ; so she ran off in search of her 
papa, that she might begin her explorations at 

Mr. Clifford, Blanche's father, was very 
fond of sport, and generally spent the autumn 


months on the moors, either in Ireland or Scot- 
land. Hitherto his little motherless daughter 
had not accompanied him on any of his jour- 
neys, but had been left to wander among trim 
English lanes, or to patrol the parade of fash- 
ionable watering-places, under the guardianship 
of her governess, Miss Prosser. This year, 
however, Blanche had been so earnest in her 
entreaties to be taken among the hills, that her 
father had at last yielded', and it was arranged 
that she should accompany him to Glen Eagle, 
where he had taken shootings. Miss Prosser 
looked on the projected journey to the High- 
lands of Scotland as rather a wild scheme for 
herself and her little charge, having no special 
partiality for mountain scenery, and a dislike 
to change the old routine. But to Blanche, 
the prospect was full of the most delicious pos- 
sibilities ; the unknown mountain country was 
to her imagination an enchanted land of peril 
and adventure, where she could herself become 
the heroine of a new tale of romance. The 
" History of Scotland " suddenly became the 
most interesting of books, and the records of 
its heroic days were studied with an interest 
which they had never before excited. In the 
daily walks in Kensington Park, on hot July 
afternoons, Blanche Clifford wove many a 


fancy concerning these autumn days to be ; but 
in the midst of all her imaginings, as she peo- 
pled the hills and valleys of Stratheagle with 
followers of the Wallace and the Bruce lurk- 
ing among the heather, with waving tartans 
and glancing claymores, she did not guess what 
a lowly object of human interest was to be the 
centre of all her thoughts. 

On the evening of the 9th of August 
Blanche stood with .her governess on the plat- 
form of the Enston Station, ready to start by 
the crowded Scotch mail. Mr. Clifford having 
seen to the travelling welfare of his dogs, pro- 
ceeded to arrange his little party for the night. 
The shrill whistle sounded at last, and they 
were soon whirling through the darkness on 
their northern way. The long railway journey 
was broken by a night's rest at a hotel, which 
Blanche thought very uninteresting indeed, and 
begged to be allowed to go on with her papa, 
who left her there. After the region of rail- 
ways was left behind, there was a journey in 
an old mail-coach, which seemed to Blanche to 
be at last a beginning of the heroic adventures, 
as she spied a little girl of her own size scaling 
a ladder to take her place in one of the outside 
seats, to all appearance delightfully suspended 
in mid-air. She was about to follow in great 


gleej when she was pulled back by Miss Pros- 
ser, and condemned to a dark corner inside of 
the coach, where a stout old gentleman entirely 
obstructed her view. Neither was Blanche a 
pleasant companion ; she felt very restless and 
rebellious at her unhappy fate, and every time 
the coach stopped and she was allowed to put 
her head out of the \vindow for a few precious 
minutes, she cast envious glances at the happy 
family whose legs dangled above. 

The coach stopped at last to change horses 
at a low white inn, and Blanche's delight was 
great to recognise her father's open carriage. 
w r aiting to take them to Glen Eagle, which was 
still many miles distant. The change was 
delicious, Blanche thought as they were driven 
swiftly along the white, winding road, round the 
base of hills higher than she had ever seen, 
through dark pine forests, which cast solemn 
ehadows across the road, along sea-like expanses 
of moor, stretching out on either side. Blanche 
was lost in wonder and delight at those h'rst 
glimpses of the mountain-land of her dreams. 
Her geographical inquiries were most searching, 
and her governess had to acknowledge ignor- 
ance when her pupil wished to identify each 
hill with the mountain-ranges depicted on a 
map-drawing, which Blanche had made in view 

10 MORAG. 

of the journey. They were still several miles 
from their destination, when a heavy white 
cloud of mist came coiling round the hills, 
creeping along the lower ridges of rock as if it 
started to reach the top, like some thinking 
creature possessed with an evil purpose. At 
first the mist seemed only to add an additional 
charm to the wild landscape in Blanche's eyes. 
" O Miss Prosser ! " she exclaimed, in 
great glee, " isn't it so pretty ? It seems as if the 
fleecy clouds that live in the sky had come to 
pay a visit to the moors, and were going to 
take possession of everything." 

" Why, Blanche, how fanciful you are ! It 
is nothing more nor less than that wretched 
wetting Scotch mist one hears of. Come, child, 
and get into your furs. How thoughtful of 
Ellis to have brought them. Commend me to 
Devonshire and muslins at this season of the 
year," said Miss Prosser, as she drew the rug 
more closely around her, and shrugged her 

The mist was creeping silently over the 
valley, and coming nearer and nearer, till at 
last there seemed hardly enough space for the 
horses to make their way through, and Blanche 
thought matters looked very threatening indeed. 
Seating herself by Miss Prosser's side with a 


shiver, she said, in a frightened tone, "I do 
wish papa were here. These clouds look as 
if they meant to carry us right up with them. 
Don't you begin to feel rather frightened, Miss 
Prosser ? " 

When her governess suggested that the car- 
riage should be closed, Blanche felt rather re- 
lieved on the whole, and becoming very quiet 
and meditative, finally fell fast asleep, curled 
up on one of the seats, from whence she was 
carried by her father, when the carnage reached 
its destination. She never thoroughly awoke 
till the bright morning sun came streaming in 
at the curtainless, deep mullioned window of 
the old Highland keep where she found herself. 

Attached to the shootings of Glen Eagle 
was a half-ruinous castle, which Mr. Clifford 
had put into a sort of repair, fitting up a part 
of the building for the use of his household, 
though there was still many an unused room, 
dim with the dust of years, among the winding 
passages and cork-screw stairs. In old times it 
had been a fortified place, and Scottish chief- 
tains had reigned there, and from its grey 
towers kept watch and ward o ~r the strath, 
where were scattered the dwellings of the clans, 
men. It stood in the heart of the glen, rearing 
itself grim and gaunt and grey, surrounded by 

12 MO RAG. 

a massive wall, which had once been for 
defence, but was ruinous now, and pleasant turf 
sloped down from the castle, and nourished 
along its cope. 

Though so long untenanted, there were still 
some remains of its ancient furnishings, which 
the Highland lord on whose land it stood left 
unmolested, in honor of the home of his ances- 
tors. In the large dimly-lighted entrance-hall, 
there hung many relics of the olden time. 
Dirks and claymores that had done deadly 
work long ago, were beautifully arranged in 
various patterns, on the dark panelled walls; 
numberless trophies from the glen were ranged 
round stately stags' heads with branching 
horns, and outspread wings of mountain birds ; 
and a fox too, whose glass eyes seemed to leer 
as cunningly as the original orbs when they 
cast longing glances at the feathered inhabitants 
of the farm-yard. 

Blanche had descended the broad staircase, 
and now gazed timidly round at these strange 
ornaments of the ancient hall. She felt as if 
she could not endure the leer of the fox one 
minute longer, and catching a glimpse of the 
pleasant greensward through the great door, 
which stood open, she darted out. The moun- 
tain breeze had a reassuring effect, and Blanche 


felt safe and happy again, as she stood gazing 
on the fair scene, in which the bleak and the 
beautiful strangely blended. 

To the left of the castle, on banks which 
sloped towards the river, were masses of feath- 
ery birk-trees, with their white crooked stems 
gleaming in the sun, and through the net-work 
of green Blanche could catch glimpses of the 
river as it took its winding way through the 
glen. On a sunny, upland slope, rising from 
the other side of the river, there were some 
corn-fields waving, which were only now yel- 
lowing for the late harvest. 

To the right there stretched a great pine 
forest, with the dark green spires of fir fring- 
ing the horizon ; and down in the valley there 
gleamed a sheet of water, lying like a looking- 
glass framed among the heather. The mist of 
the previous evening had all cleared away, and 
the golden sunlight streamed on hill and glen, 
showing the tracks of the little winding brooks, 
making the white stones gleam, and the water 
that rippled through them sparkle like dia- 
monds, lighting up the bright green patches 
on the hills, which seemed so alluring in their 
sun-lighted hues, that Blanche did not guess 
how treacherous they might sometimes prove 
for unwary feet, and longed to reach them. 

14 MORAG. 

Here and there a little cottage seemed to grow 
out of the heather, scarcely distinguishable but 
for the white lime under the brown thatch, 
and the blue smoke which curled from its tiny 

The little English maiden gazed in ecstacy 
on- this scene, so new and strange to her. A 
delicious feeling of adventure and freedom 
kept singing at her heart, as she scampered off 
round the grey old keep in search of her papa, 
for without a companion her happiness was in- 
complete. She knew well what she meant to 
do. Into each of these tiny cottages she should 
like to peep, all the bright green places she 
wanted to explore, and those gleaming sheep- 
roads in the heather seemed to have been made 
expressly for her. "Wherever little English 
feet could tread, her father had promised that 
she might go, and she felt very sure that her 
feet would be quite able for anything so pleas- 
ant. Her castle-in-the-air was quite outri vai- 
ling in proportions the one that towered above 
her, when she heard a voice which brought her 
quickly back to real life, with its rules, its pro- 
prieties, and its lessons. 

" Miss Clifford, this cannot be permitted. 
Ellis tells me that you have dressed without 
her assistance, escaped from your room, and no 


where to be seen ; and after hunting through 
endless stairs and passages, I find you here, 
without your outdoor things, and with boots 
that were meant for civilized life. I knew 
what would happen ; no kind of discipline can 
be kept up in this wild, lawless place." 

Blanche was too exuberantly happy at the 
moment to be damped by any rebuke. 

" O dear Miss Prosser ! I'm so sorry you've 
had to look for me. I really couldn't rest in 
bed. I'm sure it must be quite late, besides ; I 
felt so wide awake. Has papa had breakfast 
yet, I wonder ? I'm in search of him now. 
He promised to take me to the hills, and I 
want to begin at once." 

" My dear child, what are you talking 
about ? Your papa has been gone for hours. 
This is the famous ' Twelfth,' you know. He 
started at sunrise, I believe, with several gen- 
tlemen who arrived yesterday. The barking 
of the dogs awoke me, and as I was unable to 
close an eye afterwards, I got up, and have 
been busy helping Ellis to make a schoolroom 
pleasant and habitable for us.'' 

" Papa gone ! papa not to be back till 
evening ! How could Ellis be so cruel as to 
let me sleep ! I wish I had heard the barking 
of the dogs," burst forth Blanche, in grief and 


All of a sudden the glen grew dim to her 
eyes, and the hot tears came raining down. 
Miss Prosser began to act the part of a com- 
forter, and to make suggestions of breakfast 
and a pleasant walk in the afternoon when les- 
sons were over. But Blanche would not be 
comforted ; the proposal of a walk seemed a 
mockery to her, when she remembered the 
adventurous rambles which she had been plan- 
ning. She followed her governess with reluc- 
tant steps, casting wistful glances at the moor- 
land as she passed into the dark hall, where 
the old fox seemed to leer more cunningly 
than ever, as if lje were enjoying her disap- 

" Now, Blanche, dear, haven't I contrived 
to make our new abode look wonderfully home- 
like ? Ellis and I have had quite a hard morn- 
ing's work, unpacking and arranging, I assure 

A knot rose in poor Blanche's throat as she 
looked blankly round. There, sure enough, 
she could see, through her tear-dimmed eyes, 
an exact reproduction of the London school- 
room, which she hoped she had left far behind. 
On the wall hung the familiar maps and black- 
board, and the table was covered with the well- 
known physiognomies of the school-books of 


which she had taken farewell for many a day. 
Every trace of the glen was effectually ex- 
cluded ; a low window looked out on the green 
slope, and a rising knoll of grass almost shut 
out the sky. 

" I had such difficulty in selecting a room," 
said Miss Prosser, with a satisfied glance round 
her; "but I think I have made a happy choice. 
Ellis found one at the other side of the castle, 
which seemed habitable enough, but it looked 
out on that dreary moorland, so I avoided it." 

" How can you call it dreary, Miss Prosser ? 
It is the most glorious, beautiful land I ever 
saw. Do take a window that looks on it. But 
I'm sure papa never meant me to have lessons 
I shan't ; I can't really stay indoors ; I shall 
go out and seek papa ; " and Blanche finished 
with a wild burst of tears, while Miss Prosser 
sighed over her naughty pupil. 

It is very plain to see that Blanche was by 
no means a perfect little girl ; and as we follow 
her, we shall be obliged to acknowledge that 
she was wilful and wayward often enough. 
But we are not going to make a catalogue of 
Blanche's faults ; they will peep out at inter- 
vals, and stare out occasionally, as little girls' 
faults are apt to do, and not theirs only; so 
that we must quite shut our eyes, if we are not 

18 MORAG. 

to see them. "We need not do that, but with 
open eyes though true and kind as well as 
open we shall follow Blanche through these 
autumn days, and see what they brought to 


one of the southern counties there 
stood a stately English home, with 
silent halls and closed gates, awaiting 
the time when Blanche Clifford should 
be of age. It had been her birthplace, though 
she never remembered having seen it. Her 
young and beautiful mother had died there 
on the Christmas Eve when Blanche was born, 
and her father had not cared to revisit it since. 
Even his baby-daughter had been only a pain- 
ful reminder of his loss, and he had left her in 
his great dreary London house, with a retinue 
of servants to wait upon her, and had gone 
away for years of travel in many lands. 

During Blanche's helpless infant years, she 
had been carefully nursed by a faithful old 
soul, who had been her mother's nurse when 
she was young. Mrs. Paterson, or Patty, as 
Blanche always called her, was guardian, nurse, 
friend, and playmate all in one. She romped 
with her little charge till her old legs ached 

20 MORAG. 

again ; sang songs and ballads to her with 
unwearied fervor in her old quivering voice, 
which, though thin, was still true, and Blanche 
thought it the sweetest voice in all the world. 

The old nursery which they inhabited 
underwent wonderful and various transforma- 
tions during those early days. JSTow it was 
the sea where she bathed, or her dolls sailed, in 
stately ships of varied manufacture, into their 
haven on the rug ; sometimes it was the Zoo- 
logical Gardens, and Patty became the bear, 
receiving Good Friday buns, and every avail- 
able cupboard contained a ravening animal. 
And when Blanche got wearied with her romps, 
she would coil herself on Patty's knee, and the 
hours till bedtime would pass all too quickly, 
as she listened to delightful stories, which never 
grew old, of the time when mamma was a little 

But these pleasant old nursery days had 
passed away as a tale that is told, long before 
the time when our story begins. Dear old 
Patty w r as struck down by painful illness, and 
had to leave her little lamb in strangers' hands ; 
and now Miss Prosser reigned in her stead. 
Then lessons had begun. Blanche's governess, 
being a skilled instructress of youth, was dis- 
turbed to find her little pupil sadly backward 


in all branches of education ; for of actual les- 
so'ns she had none while under Patty's care. 
Her acquirements consisted in being able to 
read her favorite story-books, and to repeat 
and sing an unlimited number of songs and 
ballads, for many of which she had found notes 
to suit on the grand piano that stood in the 
deserted white-draped drawing-room, where she 
and Patty used to resort for their walk on wet 

"VVe shall not linger over the years that 
elapsed between Miss Prosser's coming and 
our introduction to her and her pupil. We 
should only have to tell of long days of school- 
room routine, when Blanche at last got fairly 
into educational harness, and came to know 
many things which it was right and proper 
that she should know. She could tell a great 
deal of the geography of several countries, was 
quite at home among the Plantagenets and 
various other dynasties, could repeat an unlim- 
ited number of French irregular verbs, and 
knew something of the elements of more than 
one science. 

When Mr. Clifford, after years of absence, 
at last ventured to return to his deserted home, 
it was something of the nature of a surprise to 
find an eager, loving little woman's heart await- 

22 MO RAG. 

ing Lim, and he rejoiced over his child as over 
a new-found treasure. And though Blanche 
never remembered having seen her father, yet 
lie had always been her cherished ideal. Con- 
stantly she had dreamt of him by night, and 
talked of him by day ; and her favorite occu- 
pation was to write a letter to papa ever since 
she had been in the pot-hook stage of that ac- 
quirement. His return home was the greatest 
event of her life, and brought a brightness into 
it that was unknown before. It is true that 
she did not see much of him, even when he 
was at home ; for the hope of an hour's play 
and prattle with him, in the precious after- 
dinner hour, was often disappointed by the 
presence of gentlemen friends, who would talk 
politics, and discuss other dark and uninterest- 
ing subjects, till Blanche at last glided away in 
a disconsolate frame of mind, and went to 
bed with a disappointed heart. Occasionally, 
however, she had her papa all to herself, and 
these were precious, never-to-be-forgotten hours. 
Sometimes a half-holiday was granted, and she 
went for a ride in the Park on her pretty little 
white pony, Neige, and these were always 
memorable happy occasions. But every light 
has its shadow. After having known the pleas- 
ure of being with her father, Blanche pined 


for him when he was absent, and looked for- 
ward longingly to the time when she should be 
quite grown-up, and able to be his companion 

These autumn days in the Highlands, 
Blanche had hoped to spend entirely with her 
father. She did not guess how engrossed he 
would be in sport, nor that her governess 
thought it ^wise and well to provide the means 
for a few hours of lessons, daily. She took 
her place among her schoolbooks with a smoul- 
dering sense of wrong and grief in her little 
breast, which did not get extinguished by an. 
hour's bending over an open " History of 
England." Indeed, the prospect of committing 
the Wars of the Roses to memory, seemed 
to promise to turn out as lingering a process 
as the triumph of the "White Rose, recorded 
in English annals. Blanche looked wistfully 
round, in the hope of finding some pleasant 
distraction, some trace of the mountain-land 
which she could not forget that she had ac- 
tually reached at last, though certainly her 
present surroundings did not suggest it. 

A pleasant breeze that swept in at the 
open window was the only mountain element 
that could not be excluded from this school- 
room, which had suddenly followed Blanche 

24 MORAG. 

to the Highlands, and held her captive. The 
window was on a level with the ground, and 
a grassy knoll intercepted the view beyond; 
.there was nothing really to do or see any- 
where, so at last Blanche gave herself lan- 
guidly up to her lesson, thinking she was the 
most ill-used little girl in all the world. She 
was gazing absently at a map of England 
opposite, in a lazy search after Tewkesbury, 
when she noticed a shadow flit across the 
sunlighted wall, but before she had time to 
turn her head, it had vanished, and Blanche 
again betook herself to the battle of Tewkes- 
bury, with a strong effort of attention. Sud- 
denly, as she happened to look up from her 
book, to fix a fact in her memory, by repeat- 
ing it aloud, she saw standing at the window, 
not a shadow this time, but a real flesh and 
blood little girl, gazing intently at her. A 
brown little face peeped out from among a 
mass of tangled, raven-black, elf-like locks, 
and a pair of keen dark eyes rested on 
Blanche, with admiration and wonder in their 
gaze. The little figure was arrayed in a tar- 
tan dress of the briefest dimensions, which 
hung in fringes, and displayed brown bare 
arms and legs, well-knit and nimble-looking. 
After Blanche's first gasp of astonishment 


at so strange and unexpected an apparition, 
it occurred to her that the image could prob- 
ably give some account of itself, and she 
was wondering what would be the most suit- 
able mode of address, when, as if divining 
her idea, oft' the creature darted, round the 
grassy knoll, and out of sight. Blanche 
sprung to the window, and looked excitedly 
round to see if she could possibly follow. 
The window was close to the ground, and 
her foot was on the sill, ready to start off 
in pursuit, when just at that moment in 
walked Miss Prosser. 

" Why, Blanche, what are you about ? You 
look quite excited, child ! " 

Blanche's first impulse was to confide to her 
the cause of her excitement, but, on second 
thoughts, she resolved not to reveal it. To her, 
the sudden apparition of the little elfish-looking 
maiden was quite a romantic adventure ; but 
she felt doubtful if it would appear in the same 
light to her governess, who frequently objected 
to Blanche's friendly advances to the little Lon- 
don flower-girls, and her delicate attentions to 
crossing-sweepers. Moreover, Blanche had a 
vague terror lest a pursuit of the little unknown 
might be set on foot, not of such a friendly char^ 
acter as her's wa meant to be, so she resolved 

26 MORAG. 

to keep her own counsel. Still the vision ot 
the weird-looking little maiden, whom she had 
caught devouring her with great soft eyes, like 
a gentle timid animal of the forest, kept haunt 
ing her. What did she want ? where did she 
live? she wondered. Perhaps she might not 
have any home. She looked very ragged, cer- 
tainly, and very poor she must be, for she wore 
neither shoes nor stockings, were the reflections 
that actively coursed through Blanche's brain, 
as she narrated the Battle of Tewkesbury to her 
governess, who had just reason to complain of 
a very absent-minded pupil. 

When the hour for the afternoon walk 
arrived, it did not seem quite so tame and un- 
attractive as it had done to Blanche in the midst 
of her more ambitious morning plans. She was 
by no means the broken-hearted, ill-used person 
which she fancied herself a few hours before, as 
she tripped gaily down the broad, flat, grass- 
grown steps of the old court-yard, and stood 
again on the soft turf, waiting for Miss Prosser. 
Presently she spied a familiar friend coming 
towards her, in the shape of a great black re- 
triever. He came wagging a vigorous welcome 
to his little mistress, whom he was quite over- 
joyed to see after his long and depressing jour- 
ney, in company with the pointers and setters. 


He had indulged in the most unfriendly feel- 
ings towards the whole pack, but being muzzled, 
he was not able to give them a bit of his mind, 
as he would fain have done. 

"Well, old fellow, and how are you? I 
believe you've been all over Glen Eagle already, 
and know every bit. I wish I were you, 
Chance. You may be glad enough you can't 
speak, old dog though you sometimes look as 
if you would very much like to ; for if you 
could, you would be sure to have lessons, and, 
instead of scampering about the hills, you 
would have had to tell Miss Prosser all about 
the Battle of Tewkesbury," said Blanche, laugh- 
ingly, as she returned his warm welcome. 

Chance was a great friend of Blanche's, and 
had been presented to her as a compensation 
for her banished dolls. His upbringing had, 
however, caused her much more anxiety than 
that of her flaxen darlings. He had been a 
terribly troublesome baby, and developed a 
frightful bump of destructiveness. He took so 
very long to cut his teeth, and was always 
helping on the process by using various appli- 
ances in the shape of boots, gloves, and muffs. 
But at length his partiality for these, as articles 
of consumption, somewhat abated, and he de- 
veloped instead the useful faculty of carrying 

28 MORAG. 

them, and restoring them to their owners, 
generally with much reluctance, but withal in 
a sound condition. He possessed various other 
accomplishments, which Blanche had taken 
pains to teach him, but they were of a more 
striking than graceful character, it must be 
allowed. He could shut a door, which feat he 
performed with his two great paws, with a 
terrific bang, to the utter detriment of the 
paint and polish, not to speak of the nerves of 
the household. His manners were still, even 
at mature age, sadly wanting in repose, and 
when he was in society, Blanche never felt 
quite comfortable as to what he might do next, 
so very gushing was he to his friends, and quite 
alarmingly demonstrative in another direction 
towards strangers. As he stood on the castle 
steps with his little mistress, he spied a kilted 
native, at some distance off, and was preparing 
to pounce upon him, when he was collared by 
Blanche. Then it occurred to her that she 
might be able to get some information from 
this Highlander about the subject which M-as 
still uppermost in her mind the mystery of the 
little window-visitor ; but Miss Prosser just at 
that moment emerged with finished toilette, 
all ready for the promised walk. 

On returning from the walk, Blanche wan- 


dered in among the old ash-trees, and seating 
herself on a lichen-spotted stone, she resolved 
to wait there, in order to catch the first glimpse 
of her father on his way from the moors. The 
walk along the dusty high road, by Miss Pros- 
ser's side, had by no means suited Blanche's 
adventurous plans for the day. But to-morrow 
it would be different, she thought, resolving 
that she should awake very early in the morn- 
ing, and as soon as the dogs began to bark,* she 
would go out and join her papa, and he would 
be sure to allow her to go with him. 

Presently she heard her father's voice, and 
saw him coming sauntering along the avenue 
of birch-trees which led to the castle. Running 
forward to meet him, she said eagerly, " O papa ! 
you will take me to-morrow, will you not ? I 
do want so very much to get upon those glori- 
ous hills." 

Blanche stopped suddenly, for, behind her 
father, she caught sight of a man, staring in- 
tently at her, whom she felt sure she had never 
seen before. He was a dark, keen-looking man, 
with iron-grey hair, a smooth face, and heavy 
eyebrows, which met on the straight ridge of 
his nose. He was tall and spare and agile-look- 
looking, dressed in shepherd-tartan, and across 
his shoulder one or two game-pouches were 

30 MORAG. 

slung. He seemed rather taken by surprise 
when Blanche suddenly emerged from among 
the ash-trees, and now he stood seemingly ab- 
sorbed in examining the trophies of the day's 
sport, with which a- pony by his side was laden ; 
but he was really surveying the little girl by a 
series of keen glances. 

""Why what an enterprising little puss it 
is, to be sure !" replied Mr. Clifford, laughingly. 
" You shall certainly go to the hills, but we 
must first try to find a pony, seeing Neige is 
not within reach. Look what a grand day's 
sport we have had, Blanchie," and taking her 
hand, Mr. Clifford, led her to where the pony 
stood, laden with the game. 

Blanche gazed horror-struck. The only 
dead creature she had ever seen was a pet 
canary, on which a stray cat had designed to 
sup, when the delicate morsel was taken from 
between the feline teeth, and had received a 
burial worthy of the historical Cock Robin. 
But here were more birds than she could count, 
as beautiful, and perhaps as lovable, as the ca- 
nary of pathetic memory, killed, not by stray 
cats for their suppers, but by her own kind 
papa arid his friends. There they hung in 
masses, with their bronze feathers shining in 
the sun, the speckled wings that flapped so 


merrily in the morning, hanging limp and list- 
less now, the little heads downward, and the 
tiny beaks and eyes half open, just as they had 
been fixed in their death agony. 

"This is my little daughter, Dingwall," 
said Mr. Clifford, turning to the man standing 
alongside, whom Blanche had noticed. " She 
would give me no rest till I brought her to see 
your Glen, and now she actually wants to go to 
shoot with us." 

" Oh no, papa ! indeed I don't not now," 
broke in Blanche, in a tone of distress, and, 
glancing at the gamekeeper, she saw him still 
looking at her with a queer smile on his thin 
lips. Whether it was from his connection with 
the dead spoil, or from something in his face 
which repelled her, Blanche made up her mind 
that she did not like the keeper. 

Presently he untied one of the brace of 
grouse, and lifting a wing under which the 
cruel death-wound was visible, he held it up, 
saying, " Maybe the leddy would be likin' to 
hae a wing for her hat : I've heard o' the gen- 
tlefolk wearin' sic things ; but 'deed it's but 
few o' them we hae seen this mony a day." 

" Oh no ! please not. I should not like to 
have a wing at all," said Blanche, clasping her 
hands in a beseeching attitude. 

32 MO RAG. 

" Why, pussy, what is the matter ? Am I 
not to be forgiven for starting before you were 
up this morning ? Never mind ; we shall beg 
Miss Prosser for a holiday to-morrow, and you 
shall go to the moors, mounted on a little Shet- 

" It is not that, papa. I'm afraid I shan't 
want to go to the moors any more now. I 
think it must be very dreadful. These poor 
killed birds ! how can you stand and see them 
all die, papa ? " 

" Well, I can't say I should like to make a 
microscopic inspection of their dying moments. 
After the aim is taken and the shot tired, the 
fun is over." 

" But, papa, how can you shoot those happy 
birds flying in the air, and not doing any 
harm ? " 

" Why, goosey, for the same reason as you 
knock down your nine-pins for the sake of 
sport, to be sure," replied Mr. Clifford laugh- 
ing atTthe distressed face of his little daughter. 

" Come and shut up this little philosopher, 
Major," he continued, turning to one of his 
guests, a kindly-looking old gentleman, who 
had come sauntering up and joined them. 
" She is quite shocked at the monstrous cruelty 
we have been guilty of to-day. I begin to feel 


quite like the Roman Emperor you were telling 
me of the other day, Blanche ; only flies were 
his special partiality, were they not '{ " 

" Ah ! depend upon it, Blanche has been hav- 
ing a course of Wordsworth," said the Major, 
as he shook hands. " Is it not he who says 

' Never to blend our pleasure or our pride 
With sorrow to the meanest thing that lives ? ' 

But I shouldn't have thought you had arrived 
at the Wordsworthian stage yet eh! Miss 
Blanchie?" said the kindly old gentleman, as 
he looked smilingly at the distressed little dam- 

But Blanche was in no mood for joking 
just then ; she glided away towards the castle, 
and, finding her way to her room, she sat down 
at the window from which she had got her first 
glimpse of the glen. 

The bright morning light had all vanished 
now, and the hills looked grey and solemn in 
the gathering twilight. A great silence seemed 
to have fallen on the moors. Blanche could 
hear no bleating of sheep, no cry of the moor- 
fowl, no merry whirring of wings ; and, to her 
fanciful little brain, it seemed as if the valley 
were mourning for its dead, for the little birds 
that would never sleep on the heather again, 
or mount to the sky with the returning sun. 

34 MO RAG. 

And as Blanche sat thinking in the gather- 
ing darkness, she got among those crooked 
things that cannot be made straight by any 
theories of ours, those mysteries which we 
must be content to leave to the wise love of 
Him who has told us that not a sparrow falls 
to the ground without the knowledge of that 
heavenly Father who had watched over this 
little girl always, counting her of more value 
than many sparrows. 

Blanche was not sorry to have her reveries 
interrupted by her maid Ellis coming into the 
room, bringing lights with her. And as she 
laid out the pretty white frock and blue sash, 
in which Blanche was to be dressed for the 
evening, she said, " Well, missie, and how 
have you enjoyed your first day in the 'Igh- 
lands of Scotland ? more than I've done, 1 
hope? There's cook raging, fit to make one's 
life a burden about all those birds to pluck. 
She says it will just be game, game, right on 
now, till one feels ashamed to meet a bird." 

"Oh! hush, Ellis. Please don't speak to 
me about those birds. I cannot get them out 
of my head. It does seem so very sad." 

"Why, Miss Blanche, you're as bad as cook. 
For my part, I think they're uncommon good 


" It isn't that, Ellis ; but only think how 
happy they all were this morning among those 
hills, and now I wonder how papa could do 
it ! It does seem so cruel. 1 " 

" Come now, missie, that's what I won't 
stand to hear noways the master called cruel ! 
A more kinder 'arted gentleman don't step. 
He wouldn't hurt a fly that he wouldn't. 
You'll be a callin' my old father a murderer 
next, because he's a butcher, I suppose, mis- 
sie ? " 

"Oh! that's quite different, Ellis," said 
Blanche, apologetically. "But, to be sure, 
what lots of killing there is ! It does seec. 
very dreadful, when one thinks of it." 

" Well, missie, you don't think it dreadful 
to eat a mutton-chop when you are hungry, I'll 
warrant." And this retort seemed quite un- 
answerable at the moment; so Ellis had the 
last word, as the last curl was adjusted, and 
her little mistress descended to join her father 
and his guests in the drawing-room. 

Blanche watched wistfully for an opportu- 
nity of a quiet talk with her papa ; she had so 
many things that she wanted to say to him. 
There was still a secret hankering in the bot- 
tom of 'her heart to go to the moors, for she 
could not bear to think of another day without 

36 MO RAG. 

him. But the time came to say ' Good-night' 
before any opportunity for a private talk of- 
fered itself, and Blanche went to sleep after 
her first day in the Highlands with a disap- 
pointed heart. 



N" the rocky ledge of a hill overlooking 
the Glen, there was perched a little hut, 
which seemed as if it had huddled itself 
against the rugged, grey crags for pro- 
tection, and stood on its morsel of grassy turf 
trembling at the wild scene around. The 
mountains, which from the valley looked serene 
and blue, reared themselves above the tiny 
white shieling in dark towering masses, and the 
river seemed like a silver thread as it took its 
winding way through the strath. 

On the same Christmas Eve as Blanche 
Clifford was born in her sheltered English 
home, another little girl had come into the 
world in that rocky eyrie among the moun- 
tains; and Morag Dingwall, too, was left 
motherless from the hour of her birth. Her 
father was gamekeeper at Glen Eagle ; the hut 
had been built by his grandfather, who, in his 
day, ruled over the realms of deer and grouse 
in the glen ; and it had once been a better- 

38 MORAG. 

cared-for home than it was in these later days. 
Careful fingers had striven to repair the rava- 
ges of the wind and rain, for the little shieling 
was mercilessly exposed to both ; the shelter 
the great gray rocks offered being a treacherous 
one, and its foundation damp. There had once 
been an attempt made to delve a Ttailyard out 
of the unfruitful soil, and the turf in front of 
the cottage was kept smooth and trim. But 
the present possessor of the hut did not seem 
to care to make the most of his barren, rocky 
home ; he merely grumbled about it from time 
to time to the land-agent, the only representa- 
tive whom he ever saw of the Highland lord 
,?ho owned the Glen. But the factor thought 
that such a great strong fellow as Dingwall 
might mend his own roof, while the keeper 
thought that such a great rich fellow as the 
laird might give him a new roof, and a new 
house too ; so year after year the rain had 
come drip, drip, through the porous roof on the 
earthen floor, ever since Morag could remem- 
ber, till she had got quite used to it, and to a 
great many things besides. 

The keeper was a strange man, and had led 
a strange life in his early days, the people of 
the Glen said. When a lad he had suddenly 
left Glen Eagle one winter, and be appeared 


only to have returned to take bis father's place, 
when the old man was laid in the little grave- 


yard on the hillside. And a better gamekeeper 
could not have been found. He knew every 
foot of the Glen by heart. He was the best 
angler in the country side. There w r as no 
keener eye and no steadier hand in all Strath- 
eagle; he could spy the game at incredible 
distances, and knew every winding path, each 
short cut, all deceptive bogs. People said that 
the little Morag was the only human being 
whom Alaster Dingwall ever really loved. He 
had reared his baby-daughter with his own 
hands the kennels had been her nursery, the 
dogs her playmates. As soon as she was able 
to toddle, he had taken her to the moors, often 
strapped on his back, fast asleep. Before 
Morag was seven years old she had become al- 
most as hardy a mountaineer as her father, 
going with him to the hills, carrying his game- 
bag, trotting by his side, with her little bare 
feet among the heather. She could handle an 
oar and cast a rod as well as most people ; it 
was her little deft fingers that busked the hooks 
for the loch, and did a great many useful things 
besides. Long ago the keeper had entrusted 
the cares of housekeeping, such as they were, 
to Morag. It was she who cooked, washed, 

(0 MO RAG. 

mended, and kept things going in a kind of 
way. Occasionally the father and daughter 
would start on an expedition to the village, 
which was miles away, to make purchases at 
the merchant's shop, and lay in a store of pro- 
visions before the period of snowing-up came 
round. These were always red-letter days in 
little Morag's calendar. Sometimes, though 
very rarely, there was an attempt made to 
replace the little tattered tartan frock by a new 
garri,ent, bought at the general store. If you 
had happened to look into the hut on a winter 
evening, you. might have seen the father and 
daughter bending in perplexity over a wooden 
table, on which were strewn the rough mate- 
rials for Morag's new frock. Great and many 
seemed the difficulties in the way, but at last 
Dingwall would boldly put in the scissors, a big 
and rusty weapon used for general purposes, 
and then the various stages of dress-making 
would be gone through, clumsily enough 
to be sure; but in process of time, Morag 
would stand in her finished garment, a more 
proud and happy little girl than Blanche 
Clifford, in the latest novelty of her London 

They were a very silent pair, this father 
ind daughter. Often they would wander whole 


days among the heather together without ex- 
changing words, or sit in the ingle neuk by the 
fire of peat and pine in dumb silence, while they 
cleaned guns or busked hooks, during the long 
winter evenings. But notwithstanding his grim 
silence, and whatever he might appear to the 
outer world, to his little daughter Dingwall he 
was always kind, and she loved him with all 
the intensity of her still, Celtic nature, and 
thought that he was the very best father in all 
the world. During her short, solitary life she 
had never known anybody else, and had 
hardly exchanged words with a living soul, old 
or young. Poor little Morag had grown up 
utterly untaught. Like the pointers, her play- 
mates, she had grown very clever in some 
things in mountain knowledge, in dexterity 
of lingers and agility of limb. But there were 
wants in her nature utterly unsupplied, cham- 
bers in her heart and soul into which light had 
never penetrated. Made in the image of God, 
she had never heard His name ; redeemed by 
Jesus Christ, she knew not that such a One 
had lived and died for men. Though she had 
grown in the midst of God's glorious works, she 
did not guess that He who made the " high hills 
as a refuge for the wild goats," who " sent the 
springs into the valleys which flow among the 

42 MO RAG, 

hills," was the loving, pitying Father who had 
watched her lonely wanderings, and would 
bring this blind child by a way that she knew 
not, and make " darkness light before her!" 

Most of the children of Scotland learn at 
least to read and write at the parish school, so 
Morag Dingwall's case was therefore an excep- 
tional one, and arose partly from her peculiar 
circumstances. She was an hourly necessity 
to her father, who, besides, held in scorn other 
training than that which looh and mountain 
afforded. The few books which the hut con- 
tained led quite a fossil existence ; they were 
stowed away by the careful little Morag in the 
bottom of a great wooden box, her mother's 
Idst, in the depths of which all the valuables 
were buried to save them from the inroads of 
the weather, when the pelting rain beat through 
the broken roof, as it often did. Still, these 
buried musty books had a great fascination for 
Morag ; often she would peer curiously into 
them, and long to know what they contained. 
She often wondered whether her father under- 
stood their contents; she thought not; but 
so great was her under-current of shyness 
that she had never ventured to ask him. 
Often on a quiet afternoon, when her work 
was done, she would slip one of the old 

MORA G ' S HOME. 4 3 

books from its hiding-place, and lying down 
on the soft turf, would ponder over its unknown 
characters, with an intense longing to under- 
stand them. She felt sure that those closely- 
printed pages must contain much that it would 
be delightful to know ; but they were not for 
her. With a sigh she would close the book, 
and gaze up at the fathomless blue sky and 
the everlasting hills around her ;' and sitting 
at the feet of the great, wonderful mother 
Nature, she learnt from her many things that 
books could not have taught her. 

Morag had a true eye for beauty. It is 
sometimes said that mountaineers do not ap- 
preciate the scenery amid which their lot is 
cast ; and perhaps it is so far true, that when 
the stern hard necessities of life multiply, 
they may dull the sense of the wonder and 
glory of nature in minds which were originally 
sensitive to it. With our little Morag, how- 
ever, this deadening process had not begun. 
She revelled in all the beauties of her moun- 
tain home ; with a poet's love she gave voices 
to the brooks and woods, and peopled in 
her imagination the solemn pine forest, the 
gloomy ravine, and the breezy mountain top. 

The Glen was many miles from the near- 
est parish, with its church and school. There 

44 MO RAG. 

were dwellers in Glen Eagle who went to 
both, but the keeper Dingwall was not one 
of them ; and so it happened, strange as it 
may seem, that little Morag had never been 
within a church, never heard a sweet psalm 
sung, nor joined in a prayer to God. 

On the still Sunday mornings she would 
sometimes watch the straggling dwellers in 
the valley wending their way along the white 
hilly road to meet in the little village kirk. 
Morag often glanced wistfully towards it, 
when she went with her father to make their 
purchases at the merchant's shop, but then 
it was always closed and silent. How much 
she wished that she could see it on the day 
when the people all gathered there ! She 
had a vague idea that the little company went 
to worship a God who lived far, far away 
in the blue sky, where her mother had gone, 
somebody told her once, long ago; and since 
then she had not cared quite so much to go 
to the grave under the shadow of the hill, 
but loved more than ever to gaze into the 
blue sky, and to watch the sunset glories 
before the amber clouds closed upon the many- 
colored brightness of the evening sky. 

Somehow Morag always felt more lonely on 
Sunday than on any other day. In the long 

MORA G ' S HOME. 45 

still afternoon, when her father went fora walk 
with the dogs, she would wander down from 
the rocky shieling into the pine forest, which 
was a great haunt of hers the fir-wood, she al- 
ways called it. Sometimes she took one of the 
old books with her, and lying down among the 
brown fir-needles, she would gaze longingly at 
the unknown characters. She noticed that most 
of the church-goers carried books with them, 
which she discovered to be identical with one 
of the musty collection in the old Jdst: so a 
halo of mystery grew up round this book, which 
seemed to belong to everybody; and Morag 
longed that she could find the key to it as she 
looked up from the yellow pages of her moth- 
er's Bible, and gazed dreamily through the dark 
aisles of pine at the blue sky. 

Happy are we that this Book of Life is an 
open page to us ! But if it is, though an open, 
a dull listless page, if our hearts do not burn 
within us as we read its words, then more un- 
happy are we than this lonely untaught maiden, 
this seeker after God ; for of such He has said, 
" They that seek me early shall find me ! " 

Morag had her code of right and wrong, 
which she held to with much more firmness 
than some who have the knowledge of a living, 
present Helper, along with the voice of con- 

46 MO RAG. 

science. She did many things every day that 
were not always pleasant, because something 
within said, " I ought," and avoided some things 
because that same voice whispered, " I ought 

In the cold, dark winter mornings, the "I 
ought" said, " Get up, Morag, and light the fire, 
and make breakfast ready for the kennels ; if 
you lie in bed longer, you won't have time to 
do it before making ready your father's break- 
fast, and you know that the dogs depend on 
you ; " and the little girl would jump out of 
bed, with her first footsteps on the half-frozen 
rain that often lay on the earthen fioor, and set 
cheerily about her morning's work. 

The shooting season was generally the dull- 
est time of the year for Morag ; her father be- 
ing absent at the moors with the sportsmen all 
day long, the little shieling was more than usu- 
ally solitary during those long autumn days. 
The shooting-party generally lived in the vil- 
lage inn, so it was a great piece of news for the 
keeper and his daughter when they heard that 
the new folks were to live in the castle of Glen 
Eagle. It had been uninhabited ever since 
Morag co ] d remember ; she delighted to wan- 
der rounc ts grey walls, and to peep in at the 
narrow windows, k 1 had spun many a fancy in 

MORA G ' S HOME. 4 7 

her little brain concerning its ancient uses, and 
former inhabitants. She watched from afar, 
with great interest, the preparations for the 
arrival of the new shooting-party ; and on the 
morning of the " Twelfth " she stood looking 
wistfully after her father, as he set out for the 
castle, with the hired keepers and a host of 
dogs, to meet the gentlemen on their start for 
the moors. 

The shieling seemed very lonely that day 
to Morag, when her work was done, and she 
sat watching the shooting-party on the distant 
hill, where her keen eye could still distinguish 
them, like dark, moving specks among the 
heather. At last it occurred to her that she 
might go to the old castle, and see what trans- 
formations the newcomers had wrought. She 
felt quite safe from the fear ot seeing anybody, 
while the gentlemen were absent : it never 
struck her that they would not leave their 
home, as she left her hut, silent and tenantless : 
so she sauntered down the hill, and wandered 
among the feathery birch-trees which skirted 
the road to the castle. She felt rather disap- 
pointed to find that everything looked exactly 
the same, to all appearance, as it used to do ; 
for it would have been difficult to change the 
exterior of such a grim old keep. 

48 MORAG. 

After she had made an exploring tour 
round, she sat down on a grassy knoll to rest, 
and then she noticed that the window opposite 
was opened up, and the sash raised. A feeling 
of curiosity took possession of her, and she 
thought surely there could be no harm of 
peeping in, when all the people were so far 
away on the hills. She approached cautiously, 
and looking in, she saw the loveliest little dam- 
sel that her eyes had ever beheld, seated amid, 
what appeared to Morag, a perfect fairyland of 
delight. Was there not a beautiful table cov- 
ered with books in bright gay bindings ? and 
this happy creature was bending over one of 
them, with her golden curls falling around. 
For we know that Blanche Clifford was at that 
moment in the thick of the Battle of Tewkes- 
bury, in a very disconsolate frame of mind. 
Morag saw that she had been unobserved, and 
lingered about the grassy knoll, thinking that 
she might venture to take another glimpse of 
this wonderful interior ; but this time the 
golden head had been suddenly raised, and 
a pair of blue, dreamy eyes surveyed her with 
astonishment. Morag gave a terrified glance 
round her, and then turned and fled, with a 
beating heart, never slackening her pace till 
she got beyond the castle grounds. 

MORA G ' S HOME 4 9 

By the time she had reached the shieling, 
Morag began to doubt her own eyes, when the 
vision of the fair English maiden, with her 
wondering, blue eyes, rose before her. She 
waited impatiently for her father's return from 
the moors, in the hope that he might throw 
some light on the matter ; though when he did 
come she was much too shy to make any in- 
quiries. Supper was over, and Dingwall had 
taken his seat at the ingle neuk to smoke his 
pipe, while Morag sat cleaning a gun with her 
tiny, but strong little fingers, as she silently 
pondered over the castle scene, and at last 
came to the conclusion that the bonnie wee 
leddy must have been one of the ghosts which 
were said to haunt the old keep. Her father 
at last broke the silence by saying, between one 
of the whiffs of his pipe 

" I'm thinkin' we've gotten the richt kin' 
o' folk this year, Morag. The master's the 
best-like gentleman I've seen i' the Glen this 
mony a day. It would be tellin* you and me, 
lass, gin he were the laird himsel' ; " and Ding- 
wall glanced grimly at one of the many stand- 
ing grievances, the porous roof of the hut. 
Morag's heart went pit-a-pat, for surely it could 
not be a dream, and what she wanted might be 
coming soon ; but whiff, whiff went the pipe, 

50 MORA G. 

and silence reigned for another quarter of an 
hour, as Dingwall speculated whether Mr. Clif- 
ford might not even bring his many suits be- 
fore "the laird himsel'," and get redress for 
some of his grievances. 

At last he said, as he laid down his pipe, 
" Eh, Morag ! but I havena been tellin' ye aboot 
the winsome bit leddy he's brocht wi' him. 
She cam runnin' up til him, and he brocht her 
to tak' a look o' the birds, and said, ' This is my 
daughter, Dingwall. She would give me no 
rest till I brought her to Glen Eagle,'" nar- 
rated the keeper, repeating Mr. Clifford's in- 
troduction, which had evidently gratified him. 
"She had been wantin' to go til the moors," 
he continued, "but the sicht o' the deid birds 
seemed no to her likin', and she ran off some 
frichtened like. Ye're no sae saft, lass, I'm 
thinkin' ; '' and Dingwall smiled his grim 
smile, and relapsed into silence again. 

But Morag had heard all that she wanted. 
It was no vision, then, after all, but a real, 
live, lovely maiden, of whom possibly she 
might catch another glimpse if she had only 
the courage to approach the castle again. She 
did not venture to tell her father that she, too, 
had seen the winsome little leddy. Her ex- 
treme shyness and reserve always made it an 

MORA G ' S HOME. 5 1 

effort to tell anything that required many 
words, and she put all her thoughts and rev- 
eries into the steel of Mr. Clifford's double- 
barrelled gun. 


HAT a glorious day it is, Ellis ! How 
I wish I could spend the whole of it 
out of doors!" exclaimed Blanche, 
P as she lazily stretched herself, before 
making the supreme effort of getting out of 
bed. " You've no idea how dreadful it is to 
be shut up for a whole morning in that horrid 
schoolroom, with the ' History of England,' and 
that wearisome geography book. I have got 
tl)e boundaries of China, and ever so much, for 
my lesson to-day. I'm sure I don't care to 
know how China is bounded. I shall certainly 
never go there, on any account. Do you know, 
Ellis, the Chinese are so cruel ? They shut up 
women, and pinch their toes, and all kinds of 

" La ! missie ; you don't say so ? " exclaimed 
Ellis, getting interested, for she delighted in 
the sensational. 

" Oh, yes ; indeed they do. They are such 
horrid creatures ! So ugly, too. I've seen pic- 


tures of them. Do you know, Ellis, they actu- 
ally wear tails ? " continued Blanche, gratified 
to see that her maid was interested in her in- 

*' Come now, missie, you'll be makin' them 
out to be regular animals, and that I won't 
believe, noways," retorted Ellis, as she vigor- 
ously brushed Blanche's long curls. 

" But, indeed, the Chinese do have tails. 
It's just the way they do their back hair, you 
know, Ellis," replied Blanche in an explanatory 
tone, as she turned to look out at the window. 
" Oh ! what a glorious hill that is, with its blue 
peak right away in the clouds ! I wonder what 
is the name of it ? How nice it would be to 
know all the boundaries of Glen Eagle, now 
to be able to tell the names of every mountain, 
and to know which was really the highest ; for 
yesterday that dark hill looked much higher 
than it does to-day. Don't you remember 
those soldiers we saw in Devonshire, last year, 
Ellis? They were making a military survey, 
Miss Prosser told me. How I should like to 
make a military survey ! It would be real 
work, you know, and I should go out in the 
morning and come in at night ; " and inspired 
by the grandeur of the idea, Blanche pirouetted 
round the room, greatly to the disarranging of 

54 MORAG. 

Ellis's careful toilette, and finally she ran away 
down-stairs to join Miss Prosser. 

After breakfast, Blanche was moving away, 
in a disconsolate frame of mind, towards the 
schoolroom. She looked longingly through 
the open door, as she crossed the hall, but at 
length sat down to her books with a resigned 
sigh. Miss Prosser had followed her, and stood 
at the table smiling rather mysteriously, as she 
listened to her pupil's sigh. 

"You need not sit down to your lessons 
this morning, Blanche, dear, unless indeed you 
are especially anxious to study. Your papa 
has expressed a wish that you should have 
no lessons for a short time. I must say I 
rather regret it, my dear Blanche ; you are so 
behind ; there is so much ground to be gone 

With the last remark Blanche heartily 
agreed ; but it was moorland, not mental 
ground, which she was thinking of. She began 
to put away her schoolbooks in an ecstasy of 
delight, while Miss Prosser continued 

" I have a slight headache this morning, and 
shall not be able to go out to walk with you ; 
but I have given Ellis orders to accompany 
you, as I really cannot expose myself to the 


" Oh, please, do let me go out all by my- 
self, only this once ? Indeed, I shall not do 
anything foolish," pleaded Blanche. 

Miss Prosser seemed disposed to be yield- 
ing, and at length Blanche started, accompan- 
ied by her dog Chance. She got strict injunc- 
tions not to get into danger of any kind, and 
on no account to go beyond the castle grounds ; 
but this boundary line being quite undefined 
in Blanche's mind, it gave ample scope for 
extensive rambling. 

Blanche felt quite in a perplexity of happi- 
ness when she found herself under the blue 
sky, left entirely to the freedom of her will. It 
was the first time in her life that she had been 
so trusted, and she thought it felt like what 
people call " beginning life." She had crossed 
the bridge that spanned the river below the 
castle, and now she stood between two diver- 
gent roads, each threading their white winding 
way through different parts of the Glen. So 
much did Blanche feel the extreme importance 
of the occasion, that she had difficulty in mak- 
ing up her mind which path to choose, and 
stood hesitating, till Chance, with a wag of his 
tail, set out to walk along one of them, look- 
ing back at his little mistress, as if he meant 
to say, " Come along ; anything is better than 

56 MOKAG. 

indecision : we're sure to find something pleas- 
ant in this direction." 

The remembrance of the little window visi- 
tor was still uppermost in Blanche's mind ; but 
she had heard her father say that nobody except 
their own servants lived within miles of the 
castle; so she concluded the little girl's home 
must be very far away, and that there was little 
chance of meeting with her in her rambles of 
to-day. Then she had seemed so frightened, 
and ran away so quickly, that it was not likely 
she would repeat her visit to the schoolroom 
window ; indeed it was to be hoped not, 
Blanche thought, since Miss Prosser would be 
the sole occupant that morning. The little dam- 
sel, with her elf-locks, had already begun to take 
her place in Blanche's imagination among the 
fairies and heroines of her story-books a pleas- 
ant mystery round which to weave a day 
dream, when there was nothing more attractive 
within reach. But on this morning were not 
Chance and she beginning life together, with 
all kinds of delicious possibilities before them 
along this white winding road ? At every 
turn she came upon new wonders and treasures, 
and her frock was being rapidly filled with a 
miscellaneous collection of wild-flowers, curious 
mosses, and stray feathers of mountain birds. 


The road lay between stretches of moor- 
land, which not many years before had been 
covered by trees, but now only a gnarled stump, 
scattered here and there, told of the departed 
forest. After Blanche had wandered a long 
way, following the abrupt turnings of the hilly 
path, she noticed that a shadow fell across the 
road, and looked up to see great trees all round, 
thronging as far as her eye could reach, till in 
the depths of the forest it seemed as dark as 
night ; while in some parts the sunlight strug 
gled through, and shone, like flames of fire, on 
the old red trunks of the fir-trees. Blanche, 
before she knew it, had already penetrated into 
the forest, and stood awe-struck gazing down 
the great aisles made by the pillars of pine 
rearing themselves high and stately with their 
arching green boughs against the sky. The 
remembrance of a grand old minster, where 
her father had taken her to church one Sunday 
in spring, rose to Blanche's recollection ; those 
wonderful trees seemed strangely like the fret- 
ted columns among which she had stood that 
day. She had heard her father say that there 
was no church within miles of Glen Eagle, and 
she wondered why they could not come here 
to service on Sundays. The choristers' voices 
would sound so beautiful, and the gr^at floor, 

58 MORAG. 

covered with brown fir-needles, and the lichen- 
spotted stones studded over it, would be much 
nicer than a pew. 

Blanche, as was her custom when she felt 
happy, sang snatches of songs as she wandered 
on through the forest, stooping every now and 
then to gather treasures from among the fir- 
needles. At last she sat down and began to 
pick up some attractive-looking green cones, 
which had fallen the last time the storm had 
swung the great fir-trees. And as she sat there, 
absorbed in gathering cones, her voice went up 
clear and musical through the arched boughs, 
as she sang, almost unconsciously, some verses 
of a hymn which she once learnt 

" There is a green hill far away, 

Without a city wall, 
Where the dear Lord was crucified, 
Who died to save us all. 

"We may not know, we cannot tell, 

What pains He had to bear ; 
But we believe it was for us 
He hung and suffered there." 

The unwonted sound echoed through the 
silent forest, startling a roe that had strayed 
from its covert, and making some little birds 
lurking among the boughs set their tiny heads 
to one side to listen to the new song in 


their sanctuary. There was another listener 
to Blanche's hymn, who felt as startled by the 
sound as the timid roe ; but who had, never- 
theless, stood listening eagerly. When Blanche 
looked up from the fir-needles, wearied with her 
search for the cones, it was to see the little 
maiden, whom she had just been consigning 
to dreamland, leaning against a tree. There 
she stood, more real than ever, with her little 
bare feet planted among the soft moss, and her 
eyes fixed wonderingly on the stooping little 
girl. Blanche sprang forward, dropping, as she 
went, her lapful of gatherings. 

" Oh, please, little girl, do not run away this 
time. I was so disappointed that you would 
not wait when I saw you at the window yes- 
terday. Only, perhaps, it was just as well, for 
Miss Prosser walked in the minute after,'' ad- 
ded Blanche, who always took it for granted 
that there must be a previous acquaintance with 
those who made up her small world. 

The little native did not seem disposed for 
immediate flight on this occasion, however; she 
awaited Blanche calmly, as if the fir-wood were 
her special sanctuary. Blanche was standing 
near, when Chance, who had been doing some 
hunting on his own account, finding the search 
after cones not exciting enough, came running 

60 MORAG. 

up to see what his young mistress was about. 
Blanche sprang forward to meet him ; knowing 
well that he was the sworn enemy of all bare- 
legged personages, she dreaded the result of a 
hasty interview with her new acquaintance. 
He bounded past her, however, and running 
up to the little girl, he began to wag his tail 
in quite a friendly manner, and received car- 
esses in return. 

" Why, you and Chance seem quite friends," 
exclaimed Blanche, with a feeling of relief, not 
unmingled with astonishment. u He is gener- 
ally so very naughty to strangers ; he surely 
must have seen you before ?" 

" No, leddy, I didna see him afore ; but I'm 
thinkin' he kens fine, Morag likes a' dogs," said 
the little girl, in a low, timid voice, as she 
smiled and patted Chance. 

" Morag ! is that your name ? What a nice, 
funny name ! But you must not call me, lady. 
I'm only a girl about your own age, you see. 
My name is Blanche that means white in 
French, you know, and it suits me nicely, 
they say, because I'm fair. But that isn't the 
reason I'm called Blanche. It was my mam- 
ma's name," explained the little lady communi- 
catively, while Morag listened eagerly, as if 
she were drinking in every word. 


" Do tell me where you live, Morag ? Is it 
in one of the pretty little houses on the moor- 
land, that you can see from the castle ? I'm 
so glad I've found you again ; " and the little 
fluttering hand was kindly laid on the sunburnt 
arm. A light came into Morag's still face ; she 
suddenly lifted the white hand and kissed it 
reverentiall} 7 . Blanche felt rather embarrassed 
at so unexpected a movement, though it stirred 
her little heart ; and after a moment's pause, 
she said impulsively 

"I love you, Morag. I wish you would 
come and play with me. I'm so dull all alone. 
What were you playing at, all by yourself here ? 
Aren't you a little afraid to stay in this dark 
torest all alone ? " 

"I wasna playin' mysel'. I was only jist 
buskin' at the hooks, for the loch," replied 
Morag, glancing towards a flat, lichen-spotted 
rock, where the materials for her work were 
lying scattered about. And then, as if remind- 
ed that she must be busy, she went and sat 
down to work. Blanche followed, unwilling 
to leave her new-found friend, and curious to 
see what kind of work a little girl, no bigger 
than herself, could do. There, on the grey 
stone which served as Morag's work-table, lay, 
in all stages of manufacture, wonderful imita- 

62 MO RAG. 

tions of variegated flies, to entrap unwary 
fishes. Blanche thought them marvels of art, 
and glanced with respect and admiration at 
the skilful little fingers which had even now 
another in process of creation. 

" You must be very clever to make such 
pretty things, Morag. May I sit and watch 
you at work, for a little ? I have got a holiday 
to-day, you see. Aren't holidays nice ? " said 
Blanche, glowingly ; then she remembered that 
perhaps this little girl might never have any, 
and she felt sorry she had said that, when no 
response came from her companion, so she 
changed the subject immediately. 

" Who taught you to make those wonderful 
hooks, Morag? It must be so difficult," con- 
tinued Blanche, as she watched the little fingers 
busy at work. 

" Father teached me when I was a wee bit 
girlie. It's no that difficult to busk the hooks ; 
maybe you would be liken' to try. It hurts 
the fingers some whiles, though," she added, 
glancing at Blanche's slender fingers. 

" Oh ! thank you very much, Morag. I 
should like so much to try, if you will teach 
me. My papa is going to fish in the loch one 
day soon, and it would be so nice if I could 
really make a hook for him." 


Chance, who had been comfortably ensconc- 
ed at Morag's feet, started as if he heard foot- 
steps, and Blanche looked up to see Ellis hur- 
rying towards them. 

" O missie ! how could you ever wander 
so far into this wilderness, and have me search- 
in' for you like this ? " panted the breathless 
maid, with a look of relief on her face at 
having found her strayed charge. 

" Oh, my ! what have we got here, Miss 
Blanche? You don't mean to say you've 
ben a sittin' all the morning with that crea- 
ture ? " burst forth the flurried Ellis, as she 
caught a glimpse of Morag seated on the grey 

" A regular tramp, I declare ! Miss Pros- 
ser would take a fit if she saw you, missie. 
Come along, this instant," shrieked the excited 

Blanche was by her side in a moment, 
whispering, with a face of distress 

" Hush, Ellis ! don't speak so loud. She 
will hear, and you'll hurt her feelings. Be- 
sides, I'm sure she isn't a tramp if that's 
anything bad. She's such a dear nice little 
girl, and so clever. I'll tell yon all about 
her presently,'' added Blanche, nodding con- 

64 MORAG. 

"Well, you've got to come home this in- 
stant, missie. There's somebody awaitin' for 
you," said Ellis, mysteriously. 

" Oh ! then, it isn't Miss Prosser who 
thinks I've stayed too long," said Blanche in 
a relieved tone. " Go on, Ellis, and I'll come 
after you in a minute. I must first say good- 
bye to Morag." 

Ellis, thus commanded, good-naturedly obey- 
ed, while Blanche went to rejoin her new ac- 
quaintance, whom she found still seated silently 
at work. 

" I'm so sorry I must go now, Morag, but 
I'll come back again to-morrow. I shall find 
you here, shan't I ? Good-bye, Morag ; I must 
really run now, or Ellis will be cross." 

She waited for some reply, but none came, 
only the soft eyes looked up wistfully into her 
face for a moment, and the little girl went 
quietly on with her work again. 

Blanche was soon at Ellis's side prattling 
about her morning experiences, and trying 
to convince her maid of the irreproachable 
respectability of her new acquaintance. But 
the smart Ellis shook her head skeptically ; 
she shared Miss Kilmansegg's opinion ( of 
golden-leg fame), that " them as has naught 
is naughty," and she would continue to insist, 


in spite of Blanche's eloquent expostulations, 
that the little bare-legged tattered native must 
necessarily be a dangerous tramp, the off- 
shoot from a whole gang lurking near; and 
Ellis looked fearfully around, as if out of every 
bracken might spring a gypsy, and felt sure 
that had it not been for her opportune ap- 
pearance on the scene, her little mistress would 
certainly have been kidnapped. 

As soon as the strangers were gone a little 
distance, Morag laid down her work, and gli- 
ding up to the old fir-tree where she had stood 
to listen to Blanche's hymn, she leant against 
it, and shading her eyes with her hand she 
gazed wistfully after them as they disappeared 
among the pillars of pine. " The bonnie wee 
leddy, she's awa'. They'll no be lettin' her 
speak wi' the like o' me anither time," solilo- 
quised Morag, who, like most solitary people, 
had the habit of speaking her thoughts aloud 
when alone. " That gran' like woman thocht 
I was a tramp. I'm thinkin' I'll look some 
like ane," she murmured, looking down with a 
new feeling of discomfort on her tattered little 
garment. "I'll men' it up some the nicht, 
though, and mak' it look a wee bit better afore 
the morn. She said she would be back again. 
Who will the Lord be she was singin' aboot, 

66 MORAG. 

that died upo' the green hill ? I never heard 
tell o' Him. It surely canna hae been on oor 
ain hills here aboot," continued Morag, as she 
gathered np the scattered materials for her hook- 
making, and wandered slowly away towards her 
home among the crags. 

In the meantime Blanche had reached the 
castle, and discovered the mysterious " some- 

' / 

body" who awaited her, of whom she could not 
persuade Ellis to divulge anything. In the 
cool shadow of the grey tower there stood, await- 
ing her inspection, a lovely little Shetland pony, 
one of the blackest, roundest, daintiest of his 
breed. Blanche sprang forward with a cry of 

"Oh, what a little darling! You don't 
mean to say he is for me ? " The little fellow 
turned his bright black eyes on her, and shook 
his shaggy mane, as if to say, " So you are my 
little mistress ! Let's have a look at you. I 
hope you are inclined to be pleasant ! " 

Blanche returned his gaze by throwing her 
arms round his neck and hugging him heartily, 
greatly to the amusement of the Highlander 
who had brought him, and was standing by. 

" What lovely eyes he has got, hasn't he, 
Ellis? Do you know, they remind me of" 
Morag's she was going to say ; but she remem- 


bered that was a forbidden name. Presently 
she ran to find Miss Prosser, that she might 
come and ad mite the new favorite. 

" He looks so perfectly good and quiet, quite 
like a dog. I'm sure I may sometimes ride him 
alone, mayn't I, Miss Prosser ? " 

" I shall never sanction such a step, and I 
cannot think that your papa will consider it 
either wise or proper for you to ride alone," re- 
plied her governess, shocked by the suggestion. 

" What's his name ? " asked Blanche, turning 
to the owner of the pony, anxious to change a 
subject which she saw had not met with appro- 

" Anything my little leddy pleases ; she be 
not got any name to hersel yet ; " and turning 
to Miss Prosser, he said, evidently anxious to 
establish the character of his late possession, 
" She's as quiet 's a lamb, leddy, and there isna 
a foot o' the Glen she doesna know as weel 's 

But Miss Prosser shook 1 er head incredu- 
lously under her sunshade, as she moved away. 

" Nonsense, Blanche, you silly child ! Don't 
you know that horse-dealers are proverbial 
cheats? The animal is probably the greatest 
vixen under the sun. Those small ponies are 
most dangerous and tricky always." 

68 MO RAG. 

But Blanche, nothing daunted by the al- 
leged bad character of her new favorite, set her 
little brain to work to find a name for him. 
As Miss Prosser disapproved of any lady's 
name being bestowed on one of the lower ani- 
mals, the selection became more limited. Af- 
ter searching through several volumes of his- 
tory, ancient and modern, and various volumes 
of lighter literature, with an assiduity worthy 
of a better cause, her governess remarked, 
Blanche decided that, after all, no name seemed 
to suit the little fellow so well as the one 
which had at first suggested itself, but was set 
aside as being too commonplace, that of Shag. 
So oif she trotted to inform the little Shet- 
lander that he was no longer nameless, and to 
see what he was thinking of his new quarters. 

The next day, to Blanche's great delight, 
her papa announced that he was not going to 
the moors, and meant to take his little daughter 
out for a ride. The horses had been ordered 
round at twelve o'clock, and Blanche spent the 
morning in aimless wanderings round the cas- 
tle, wishing that the hour for starting would 
arrive ; a ride with her papa was such a rare 
piece of happiness, that the prospect quite suf- 
ficed for her morning's entertainment, without 
setting anything else on foot. 


At last a practical difficulty presented itself, 
which she had not thought of before, and she 
ran off to find her maid to remind her that her 
riding-habit had been left at home, lor she re- 
membered hearing Miss Prosser say that there 
was no need of including it in the Highland 
wardrobe, since the little Neige was to be left 
behind in his London stables. 

"Well now, missie, did you never think 
o that till this time of day ? A pretty job it 
would have been for you if everybody else had 
been so forgetful," said the maid, smiling, as 
she took from a drawer a pretty new tartan 
riding-habit, all ready to wear. 

" There now, Miss Blanche, that's what 
has kept me so busy for the last two days. 
I've just this minute finished runnin' it up. 
It's a queer color for a habit, I must say, but 
it's the best thing to be found at the village 

" Oh ! you dear good Ellis, how kind of 
you to make it in such a hurry ! It is such a 
beauty, much prettier than my dark blue at 
home. Don't you think I might put it on 
now, just to see how it looks ? " 

So the riding-habit was rather prematurely 
donned, and Chance with his mistress were 
waiting in the hall some time before the little 

70 MORAG. 

Shag and his stately bay companion appeared in 
the court-yard. Blanche was already mounted 
when Mr. Clifford emerged from the library 
with his budget of letters ready for the post- 

"What a regular Highland lassie it is, to 
be sure ! " said he, glancing at Blanche's gay- 
colored habit as he mounted his horse. 

"It is certainly most unsuitable," apologized 
Miss Prosser, who had come out to see them 
start. " But it was really the only material 
procurable in these uncivilized regions." 

" It's a first-rate attire quite in keeping, 
I assure you, Miss Prosser. Come along, 
Blanchie; you will quite charm the deer and 
the moor-fowl by having got yourself up in 
their native tartan." 

On the riders went, soon leaving the shady 
birch-avenue far behind, and getting among 
breezy moors. It was a perfect autumn day, 
the sky was serene and bright, and a pleasant 
heathery perfume filled the air. Blanche's 
long fair curls floated in the breeze, and her 
face glowed with pleasure as she swept on 
alongside her father, the little Shetlander can- 
tering as fast as it could lay its short legs to 
the ground, trying to keep pace with the 
swinging trot of the long-limbed hunter. 


" Shag, as you call him, is quite a success, 
Blanchie," said Mr. Clifford, as he reined his 
horse in at last. " I'm afraid he will prove 
even a rival to Neige." 

" Oh no, papa ; there's no fear of that ; my 
heart is big enough to love a dozen ponies. 
Shag is a perfect darling, though. He seems 
so good and quiet, too; don't you think I 
might ride him alone, papa ? '' 

" Ride quite alone ? I am not so sure 
about that, pussy. Don't you think you'd feel 
like the damsel all forlorn. I think you must 
be satisfied with Lucas when I can't come. 
Poor old fellow ! he prefers his carriage-box to 
his saddle nowadays, he is getting so asthmat- 
ic; but I don't think I can trust you with any- 
body else." 

" O papa ! please don't send Lucas with 
me; he's so old and stupid, and wheezes so 
dreadfully; and he always says so solemnly, 
' Take care missie,' when we begin to go fast. 
I'd much rather wait till you can come, if I 
mayn't go alone." 

As Blanche cantered on by her father's 
side, she suddenly remembered her promise to 
meet Morag in the fir-wood, which she had 
forgotten in the excitement of the morning. 
She was hesitating whether she should tell her 

72 MORAG. 

papa about her new acquaintance, and wonder- 
ing if he would call her a dangerous gypsy as 
Ellis did, when her thoughts were diverted by 
coming within sight of a human habitation of 
some kind ; the first they had seen since leav- 
ing the castle, so Blanche viewed it with some 
curiosity. She wondered whether all the cot- 
tages that studded the valley looked as neat 
and pretty as this one, which stood in its lit- 
tle fenced-in garden, growing out of the bleak 
moorland, where nourished gooseberry and 
currant bushes, besides drills of cabbage and 
potatoes. The late summer flowers were still 
gay and sweet, and creeping rose-bushes grew 
on the white wall under the brown thatch, 
which looked thick and trim, all studded over 
with thick, green moss as soft as velvet. The 
little windows were bright and shining, and 
the tiny muslin curtains looped up behind 
them looked spotless and dainty. 

" O papa ! what a lovely little cottage ; it 
looks quite like a doll's house ! " exclaimed 

" It is certainly a wonderful abode to fin 1 
in such a wild spot," said Mr. Clifford, glanc- 
ing at the well-kept garden. " The occupants, 
whoever they are, have certainly contrived to 
make the wilderness blossom." 


Behind the cottage, and evidently belong- 
ing to it, was a little patch of cornfield, that 
lay yellow and shining in the sun, quite ripe 
for harvest ; indeed it was partly cut down, 
though there appeared to be only one reaper in 
the field. Blanche slackened her pony's rein 
to look at the old woman who was bending 
over a sheaf which she had been binding, with 
no other help than her frail trembling fingers. 
Attracted by the unusual sound of passers-by, 
she looked up from her work, and caught a 
glimpse of the little girl's face, who had 
lingered behind her papa, and was looking 
pityingly across the old grey dyke on the 
lonely reaper at her toilsome afternoon's work. 
" They'll be the new folk that's come til the 
castle, I'm thinkin'. She's a richt bonnie bit 
leddy that, though," soliloquised the old wom- 
an, as she shaded her quiet gray eyes with 
her long thin fingers, and gazed after the 
riders. " May the Lord hiinsel' keep her bon- 
nie in His ain e'en, as she's fair til see;" and 
stooping down, she lifted her hook, and went 
on with her work a^ain. 


Blanche and her father soon left the pretty 
cottage far behind, as they cantered on in the 
delicious breeze, which wafted all manner of 
pleasant odors and thoughts to the little girl, 

74 MORAG. 

who rode gaily on in the sunshine ; but it did 
not waft to her ears the prayer which had 
gone up to God for her, that afternoon, from 
one of His true servants, the lowly bent woman 
on whom the blue eyes of the little maiden had 
been so pityingly cast. 


HE day after Blanche's ride was very 
stormy. The peaceful Glen seemed 
suddenly thrown into a wild tumult. 
Now and then a long low rattle of thun- 
der sounded along the mountains, and the great 
fir-trees creaked and swung, making all manner 
of weird choruses among the aisles of pine. 
The rain had fallen in torrents during the night, 
and there seemed still an inexhaustible supply 
in the gray sheets of mist that hovered over the 
nearer hills. The little mountain rills hurried 
white and foaming to the river, which moaned 
and raged along the valley, carrying with it on 
its wild way to the sea more than one wooden 
bridge which had been wrenched from its frail 
moorings by the spate. It was a true High- 
land storm, the first Blanche had ever seen, and 
she stood watching it with mingled feelings of 
interest and disappointment. She knew well 
what she meant to do with this holiday, if only 
the sun had kept its golden promises of last 

76 MORAG. 

night. But this storm had upset all Ler plans, 
and she was filled with remorse at the thought 
of the neglected tryst in the fir-wood, and felt 
out of sorts with herself and all the world. 
Her last hope of any fun that afternoon de- 
parted as she stood in the old hall, and watched 
her father and his guests get into their water- 
proofs and prepare to start on an expedition to 
see the swollen river. She would gladly have 
accepted an invitation, laughingly given by the 
old Major, that she should join the party, but 
Miss Prosser had been quite shocked by the 
suggestion. " It was improper at any time for 
a young lady to go out in rain, and in a deluge 
like the present, quite out of the question," she 
replied, from the side of the school-room fire, 
where she sat shivering. Nothing was to be 
seen from the window, except the rain, which 
came plash, plash on the soaking turf in a 
dreary monotone of dulness, and Blanche con- 
trived to make her escape while Miss Prosser 
had fallen into brief, though sound slumbers. 
She took refuge in Ellis's society, whom she 
found sewing busily in her room. But here 
things did not go to her mind an} 7 more than 
in the school-room, for Ellis had taken the op- 
portunity of warning her little mistress that if 
she were ever found ' addressin' of that tramp' 


again, she would feel in duty bound to in- 
form Miss Prosser, nor could any coaxing of 
Blanche's persuade her to promise silence. 

" No, missie ; I'll not hold my tongue for 
nobody. My very heart came to my mouth 
when I saw you talkin' to that creature, just as 
friendly and unsuspectin' as if she'd been your 
very sister, and all alone in that dismal wood, 
too. Depend upon't there's a whole gang o' 
them lurkin' yonder. Have you never heard 
of them as kidnaps children, missie ? Why, 
they'd take you for the sake of your pretty 
curls, if for nothing else. A nice endin' that 
would be for you, Miss Clifford ! " and Ellis 
stitched away in high indignation, as she dwelt 
on the alarming picture that she had conjured 
up, while Blanche called to mind some of the 
stories which she had read of gypsies who had 
run off with children. It seemed to her, how- 
ever, that any excitement would be preferable 
to a time of dulness like the present ; and she 
came to the conclusion that the kidnapped 
children must have, on the whole, rather a nice 
time of it in the greenwood, and feel sorry 
when they are recaptured by their anxious rel- 
atives, and sent back to their school-rooms. 

Ellis went on stitching in dumb silence, 
feeling displeased that her warnings seemed to 

78 MORAG. . 

be treated so lightly, and Blanche, finding 
these circumstances far from lively, glided 
away. After roaming through the winding 
passages and turret stairs, in the hope of find- 
ing some variety, she lighted at last on a quaint, 
little room, which had evidently been unmo- 
lested by charwoman or housemaid for many a 
day. Its dusty desolation, however, quite suit- 
ed Blanche's present disconsolate frame of 
mind. She managed to undo the rusty fasten- 
ings of the narrow window, and coiling herself 
into the deep stone embrasure, she looked 
dreamily out on the moorland. The storm 
seemed at last to have almost spent itself. 
Blanche could catch glimpses of the river, 
which still lashed itself into wild white foam 
as it hurried along; but the sunlight was shim- 
mering upon it now. The wind had fallen, the 
great pine-trees creaked and swung no longer, 
and the gray sheets of mist, which seemed so 
stagnant a few hours before, were now slowly 
creeping from the hills, and making way for 
the clear shining after rain. 

Blanche sat watching the changing land- 
scape from her dusty nook, with the pale 
sunlight glinting in upon her; and as she 
gazed, all the discontented, restless thoughts 
seemed to vanish from her heart, disappearing 


like the gloomy mists which had been shroud- 
ing the pleasant hillsides. At last, after she 
had sat perched in her watch-tower for several 
hours, she fancied she heard her father's voice 
in the court-yard below, and she ran to meet 
him. Mr. Clifford was standing with all his 
wet wrappings when she reached the hall. 
" O papa ! how very funny you do look ! You 
are just as wet as Chance when he comes out 
of the water." 

"Well, I'm wet enough, to be sure. But 
you should see what a wonderful little speci- 
men of the aborigines I've fished up, Blanchie. 
Come along, and I'll tell you the tale while 
I warm myself." 

Blanche followed into the library with 
some curiosity. She had rather hazy ideas 
of what the " aborigines" might mean, but she 
concluded that it must be some sort of trout 
taken from the river during the storm. 

The Major had returned home some time 
ago, and was comfortably seated in his arm- 
chair by the library fire, so Blanche had to 
wait, with as much patience as she could 
muster, till Mr. Clifford explained what had 
detained him. The other gentlemen had gone 
on to see the Linn, he said, but as he wanted 
to have some fishing next day, he thought 

80 MORAG. 

it would be well to see the keeper, and ar- 
range the matter before returning home. 

" I had been to the kennels once before," 
continued Mr. Clifford, "and knew that the 
keeper lived not far from them. But I had 
no end of bother in finding the place, though 
there it was suspended above me all the 
while. I set out to go down the hill again, 
giving up the search in despair, when I no- 
ticed that smoke came from a wretched shell 
of a hut, perched on the corner of a crag. And 
this turned out to be Dingwall's abode. I 
really wonder his Grace doesn't house his ten- 
ants better." 

"But what about the creature you fished 
up, papa ? " asked Blanche, fearing that the 
conversation was going take too abstract a turn. 
" You promised to tell me, you know." 

" Ah ! Blanche, I see you're all eyes and 
ears. Well, I'm just coming to that now. I 
knocked at the door of this miserable erection, 
but no answer came ; and, as it was pouring 
rain, I did not feel inclined to wait long, so I 
lifted the latch and looked in. Dingwall evi- 
dently was not at home. Indeed, I should say 
he was quite as comfortable among the heather 
as at his own fireside, in the circumstances. 
The rain was dropping in from the roof in all 


directions, and it was evidently its habit to do 
so, for it seemed to have excavated reservoirs 
for itself along the earthen floor. The only 
soul in the hut was a wretched atom of a 
girl, who, nothing daunted by this damp state 
of matters, was splashing contentedly through 
the wet floor with her little bare feet, trying to 
spoon away the water in the pools. Such a 
funny little thing it was. You should have 
seen her, Blanchie, as she stood looking aft me, 
with her great eyes that peeped out from a 
tangled mass of black locks. But I daresay 
I looked rather an alarming apparition in 
my waterproof and umbrella, which I had the 
prudence to keep over my head. She looked 
terrified for a moment, but she did not forget 
to make her rags touch the soaking floor in a 
low curtsey, and offered in the sweetest voice 
to run for her father, who was ' watchin' the 
spate? she said. You should have seen her, 
Blanchie ; it would have quite suited your love 
for the sensational." 

The portrait was photographic ; Blanche's 
heart began to beat, for she felt certain that 
she had seen her. 

" O papa ! do tell me, did she really go away 
to the river to look for her father ? Do tell rne, 
please," said Blanche, in eager tones. 

82 MORAG. 

" "Well, seeing that she didn't seem to mind 
the weather, and wasn't likely to catch cold, I 
thought I might as well bring her here for a 
little, since her father was not at home, and 
put her under old "Worthy's care, to be warmed 
and fed and generally comforted. I couldn't 
get her to open her mouth again, but she fol- 
lowed me down the hill on my invitation." 

" O papa ! you don't mean to say that she 
is with Mrs. "Worthy now ? " and without wait- 
ing for a reply, off Blanche bounded in search 
of the housekeeper's room. And there, in 
front of a bright fire, seated in a comfortable 
arm-chair, looking serenely happy in the midst 
of such unwonted comforts, sat Morag. 

" It is really you ! Of course 1 knew it 
was," exclaimed Blanche, rather incoherently, 
as she sprang forward with a cry of delight. 

Morag rose with an eager bewildered look 
on her face, but she did not speak, while the 
impulsive little Blanche threw her arms round 
the tangled locks, and kissed the brown cheek. 

" () Morag ! I'm so very glad to see you 
again. I've been so sorry all day that I did 
not go to meet you in the pine forest yester- 
day. So, you are the keeper's daughter," and 
a shadow of vexation stole across Blanche's 
sunny face, for the remembrance of the dark, 


sinister-looking man whom she had disliked 
rose before her, and she felt a pang of regret 
that he should be connected with Morag. 

" I'm so glad papa brought you here, Mo- 
rag. "What a horrid house you must have to 
live in ! Papa- says that it's a great shame of 
somebody I forget who. I do wish that the 
sun might always shine, and then you could sit 
among those delicious pine-trees, instead of 
in-doors," and Blanche went on in a silvery tor- 
rent of words, while Morag gazed at her, eag- 
erly listening in glad silence. 

Mrs. Worthy, who was seated opposite in her 
arm-chair, reading the newspaper, viewed this 
scene through her spectacles with unfeigned as- 

"Bless my soul, Miss Clifford, you seem 
quite intimate like already ! The like of you 
for 'aving a warm 'art to all critters, I never 
did see," said that worthy personage rubbing 
her spectacles, as if her old eyes had deceived 
her. She was a kindly woman, and had been 
delighted to show all hospitality to the poor 
little drenched vagrant ; but to see Miss Clif- 
ford on terms of seemingly old and intimate 
friendship was more than she could compre- 

"Oh ! it's all right, Mrs. Worthy. I know 

84 MORAG. 

Morag quite well ; we met in the pine forest. 
But where is Ellis ? has she been here ? " And 
Blanche bounded off in triumph to tell her 
maid that the dangerous little gypsy of the 
greenwood was seated in the housekeeper's own 
private sanctum, having tea and guttered toast, 
by her papa's special invitation too. Ellis did 
not seem so much impressed by this wonderful 
piece of news as Blanche expected, and loudly 
disapproved of the proposal which followed, 
namely, that one of Blanche's dresses should 
be given to the little damsel to replace the tat- 
tered tartan. 

" 'Deed, missie, I'll not listen to such a thing 
for nobody. Your frocks are all much too good 
for the likes of her, what I've brought here. 
If you'd told me you were agoin' to clothe all 
the poor of the parish, I might have brought 
something from your boxes of old clothes at 

"I'm sure you might find something, if 
you only wanted," pleaded Blanche. 

At that moment Miss Prosser's voice was 
heard calling Ellis, and Blanche overheard her 
governess say to the maid presently, " Oh, by 
the by, Ellis, the master wants you to find a 
frock of Miss Clifford's for a little urchin who 
has been picked up in the Glen somewhere, 


and appears to be in a very destitute condition, 
from all accounts. You had better select some- 
thing suitable. I believe she is in the house- 
keeper's room now ; so you can go and see 
what she looks like. Have you anything that 
will suit the creature, I wonder ? " 

" Yes, ma'am. There's the crimson dress, 
that will do. Missie will never wear it again." 

" Well, I dare say not, though certainly it 
does seem much too good for a child of the de- 
scription. Where is Miss Clifford ? Have you 
seen her ? I've been looking for her for the last 
half hour, but I can't find her anywhere." 

" She's just going to get dressed for the 
evening, ma'am," replied Ellis, evasively, not 
indicating that she was within call, nor hinting 
at her little mistress' previous knowledge of 
Mr. Clifford's protegee ; and finally Miss Pros- 
ser retreated to perform her own toilette. 
Blanche was hovering about in a great glee, 
having heard the result of the conversation. 

" Oh ! you dear good Ellis ! So you are 
going to find a dress for Morag after all ? I 
knew you would. Do let me take it to her." 

The crimson garment was at length forth- 
coming, in the midst of many grumblings on 
Ellis's part ; and Blanche, accompanied by her 
maid, set out in procession towards the house- 

86 MO RAG. 

keeper's room. They found Morag alone ; she 
had risen from her seat in the big arm-chair, 
and was now standing at a small table on which 
the housekeeper's books lay. An illustrated 
edition of the " Pilgrim's Progress 1 ' was lyjng 
open, and when Blanche walked in, Morag was 
looking intently at one of the pictures. She 
started and closed the book with an almost 
guilty look, and when she caught a glimpse 
of Ellis, her little brown cheek flushed all over, 
for she had not forgotten her loud-spoken sus- 
picions regarding her. Gliding up to Blanche, 
she said softly 

" I'll neecU to be goin' hame, noo, leddy. 
Father will be back, and his supper maun be 
ready ; and there's a heap to do forby." 

" But you don't really mean to say, Morag, 
that you get supper ready, and do everything ? 
"Why ! where's your mother, or the servant ? " 

Morag's eyes twinkled, and she laughed her 
rare merry laugh at Blanche's look of astonish- 

" We ha vena got no servant. I'm thinkin' 
they're no but for gentry. My mother deid 
lang syne. I never min' upo' seein' her. There's 
no jist terrible muckle work, except whiles, 
when the weet comes in, like the nicht." 

" I should like so to go and see you, Morag. 


Do you think I may some time ? '' asked 
Blanche, filled with admiration at the thought 
of the usefulness of a little girl smaller than 

"The floor is some weet the nicht, I'm 
thinkin'," replied Morag, glancing doubtfully 
at Ellis. 

"Oh! but I didn't mean to-night. Per- 
haps one day soon, when the sun shines, and 
your father is at the moors with papa," added 
Blanche, for she had not forgotten the dark- 
looking keeper ; and she did not think that she 
should like to find him at home. 

Meanwhile, Ellis had been standing with 
the dress in her hand, listening to the conversa- 
tion. Her closer inspection of Morag rather 
softened her towards the little native, with 
regard to whom she had been harboring such 
dark suspicions. She began to make sundry 
signs, to the effect that her little mistress 
should now proceed to present the dress. But 
somehow, at this juncture Blanche seemed 
suddenly seized with a fit of shyness. Morag 
certainly appeared to stand greatly in need of 
a new garment, but still Blanche felt in doubt 
whether she would care to receive one. She 
was so unlike any poor person she had ever 
seen so useful, so brave, so complete in her- 

88 MO RAG. 

self. At last Ellis got tired of waiting for 
Blanche, and unfolding the dress, she held it 
up with a flourish and a toss of her head, 

" Now, little girl, Miss Clifford is rjdnd 
enough to give you this beautiful frock. See 
you say ' Thank you' for it, and take good 
care of it too. I declare it looks as good as 
the day it was bought ! " added Ellis, casting 
regretful glances on the garment, as she laid 
it on the table beside Morag. The little girl 
stood looking at the gift with extreme astonish- 
ment for several minutes, and then, glancing 
at Blanche, she went slowly up to her, and 
said in a low tone 

" Thank you kindly, leddy. But I would 
jist be spoilin' a braw goon like that. It's no 
for the like o' me." 

" Oh ! but indeed, Morag, dear, you must 
wear it. I don't think it a bit too good for 
you to wear on week-days ; but if you like you 
can keep it for Sunday, you know. It used to 
be my church-frock, wasn't it, Ellis ? " 

"Ay, maybe. But it's no for the like o' 
me. I dinna never gang to the kirk forby,' 
added Morag, in a low, melancholy tone, as 
Ellis left the room to discuss with Mrs. "Wor- 
thy the strange little native who did not seem 


to care for the grand frock, although she was 
in such rags. 

" I would like richt weel to ken what this 
bit bonnie picter is," said Morag, as she turned 
towards the little table, on which the open 
"Pilgrim's Progress" was still lying, and 
pointed to one of the illustrations towards the 
end of the first part. Blanche had not read 
the "Pilgrim's Progress," and she did not 
know what the picture meant at the first 
glance. There was an expanse of dark rip- 
pling water, and struggling through it were 
two men. One of them looked on the point of 
sinking, while the other seemed to be trying 
to hold him up, and pointed to a shining city, 
which was lying far away in the sun. Seeing 
how eager Morag was to know what it all 
meant, Blanche began to feel interested ; after 
turning some pages, she said " Oh ! I see 
now. That town in the light, far off, is heaven, 
and those men must be trying to get there, I 
suppose. But I'll ask Mrs. Worthy to lend 
me this book, and shall try and find out all 
about it before I come to the pine-forest next 
time, Morag." 

" Ye'll be able to read a' books, Pm think- 
in', leddy," said Morag, looking wistfully at 
Blanche, as she glanced at the pages. 

90 MORAG. 

" Oh, yes, of course, I can read any book 
that I care to read. But, indeed, Morag, I'm 
not very fond of reading," added Blanche, in a 
confidential whisper, as if the fact were a very 
shocking revelation. " To be sure, I do like a 
few story-books very much, indeed ; but then 
Miss Prosser does not allow me to read many. 
I've got some delicious story-books at home, in 
London. I wish I had them here, and I should 
lend them to you, if you are fond of reading. 
I don't think I have anything except those 
lesson-books here. The ' History of England ' 
is rather interesting sometimes, by the by. 
Perhaps you might like it. There are lots of 
nice stories here and there. Miss Prosser says 
I like to read them because they are stories, 
and not for the sake of the facts and the dates, 
and I suppose that is very wrong," sighed 
Blanche, penitently. 

Morag stood listening in silent wonder. 
The conversation had gone far beyond her 
depth, poor little woman! and she was about 
to explain that it was so, when Blanche con- 

" What books do you like best, Morag ? I 
like fairy-stories much best something about 
dragons, and giants, and all that, kind of thing, 
you know." 


Morag's cheek flushed crimson as she re- 

" A' books look richt bonnie to me, leddy, 
but I'm no fit to read none o' them." 

Blanche felt considerable astonishment at 
this disclosure. But, noticing her companion's 
embarrassment, she tried to receive it unmoved, 
and said, rather patronizingly 

"Ah! well, Morag, but you can do so 
many useful things besides." 

Morag smiled. Her quick perceptions de- 
tected Blanche's kindly attempt to cover her 
embarrassment with a compliment. For now 
that the critical eyes of the smart maid were 
withdrawn, she began to feel more at ease, and 
at last ventured to ask a question, to which she 
had been very anxious to get an answer since 
that morning when she stood listening to 
Blanche's warblings among the pines. 

" Yon was a richt bonnie sang ye were 
singin' i' the fir-wood, leddy. Will the Lord 
that died on the hill be ane o' the chieftains 
that used to bide lang syne i' the castle ? " 

" I'm sure I quite forget what song I was 
singing, I know so many. But I don't think I 
do know one about a chieftain, though," said 
Blanche, shaking her curls in perplexity. 

" It tellt aboot a good Lord that deed upo' a 

92 MORA G. 

green hill, and suffered terrible, I'm thinkin'. 
I heard a' the words ye were singin' richt plain 
like among the firs." 

" Oh ! I know now ! Why, that isn't a 
song, Morag it's a hymn. It was Jesus 
Christ, of course, ' who suffered under Pontius 
Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried,' the 
Creed says, you know." 

This statement did not seem in any degree 
to diminish Morag's perplexity, and presently 
she said 

" Maybe ye would jist say ower the bonnie 
words til me ? " Blanche repeated the hymn 
in her clear, silvery tones, and after she had 
finished, Morag gave a little sigh as she said 
"It's richt bonnie. I like weel to hear ye 
tell't ower. Is't a real true story, leddy? " 

" Of course it's true, Morag. Jesus Christ 
died on the cross, you know. But it's a very 
long time ago, in the Holy Land. You can 
find all about it in the Bible. Ah ! but I 
quite forgot," said Blanche, flushing in her 
turn ; and then, after a minute, she contin- 

"Morag, I have thought of something. 
"Would you like Miss Prosser to teach you to 
read ? I think I'll ask her. But she is rather 
particular about some things," added Blanche, 


sighing despondently, as if she began to doubt 
the pleasantness of that arrangement ; and pres- 
ently she exclaimed eagerly " O Morag ! I 
wonder if 1 could teach you to read ? It would 
be such fun ! I would bring all my lesson- 
books to the pine forest, and we would spread 
them on the flat grey rock, and I would teach 
you everything that I know. "Wouldn't it be 
nice?'' and Blanche clapped her hands with 
delight at the thought. 

Morag's face glowed with brightness as she 
listened to this proposal, and she was about to 
make some reply when Ellis entered the room. 
She came to say that Miss Prosser was already 
in the drawing-room, and that she wondered 
very much what had become of Miss Blanche, 
and Ellis insisted that she should come and 
get dressed without a moment's further delay. 
Mrs. Worthy entered at that moment with a 
trayf ul of good things for Morag ; and Blanche, 
after giving strict injunctions to her little 
friend not to go home till she had seen her 
again, followed Ellis to get arrayed for the 

The storm had quite vanished now, and the 
evening was bright and calm. All the weird 
noises were silent, and a delicious breeze came 
stealing across the moorland balmy with the 

94 MORAG. 

breath of pine and birch, and all manner of 
delightful, thymy fragrance. 

Mr. Clifford and his guests were sauntering 
up and down the birch-walk near the castle, 
talking and smoking their cigars, when Blanche 
joined them. 

" Well, pussy, so I hear you had already 
made the acquaintance of my protegee ? Mrs. 
Worthy tells me that you gave her quite a 
gushing reception. How in the world did you 
foregather ? Till this afternoon, I certainly was 
not well enough versed in Dingwall's family 
history to know that he had a daughter," said 
Mr. Clifford. 

" Yes, Blanche, dear, where did you meet 
the creature ? " chimed in Miss Prosser, com- 
ing, but not to the rescue. " It can only have 
been on that morning when I allowed you to 
go out alone. And you know you promised 
not to get into mischief of any kind. I won- 
der when you will gain the desirable self- 
respect which will save you from making 
friends of the most unsuitable persons, Blanche, 
dear ! " added the governess, looking rather se- 
verely at the little girl, who stood pondering 
whether she should reveal the circumstances 
of her acquaintance with Morag, but she had 
a vague fear lest the window-scene might com- 


promise the respectability of her little friend, 
in some minds, so she resolved to hold her 
peace. Her father noticed her distressed face, 
and stroking her curls, said, laughingly 

" Don't be ashamed of your new acquaint- 
ance, Blanchie. I assure you, Miss Prosser, 
she is a most exemplary little savage You 
should have seen her at work in her hut to- 
day ! I wonder if she is still in old worthy's 
keeping. You might run and see, Blanche, 
and bring her here if she is. I should like 
you to have a look of the odd little atom, Miss 

" Is that the urchin you found sticking in 
the mud-floor, Clifford ? " asked one of the gen- 
tlemen, joining them. " She must be quite 
a natural curiosity a sort of fungus, I should 
imagine. Do let's have a look at her." 

So Blanche was dispatched, rather unwill- 
ingly, to fetch Morag. She was very glad to 
be allowed to go back to her again, but she 
could not help feeling that it was rather a 
doubtful mission on which she had been sent, 
and she wondered whether it was quite kind 
to bring the shy little mountain maiden into 
the presence of so many strangers. 

Mr. Clifford and his party were standing 
together looking at a gorgeous rainbow which 

90 MO RAG. 

had suddenly spanned the Glen when the chil- 
dren appeared in sight. They came slowly 
along, through the feathery birk-trees, which 
were all flooded by the delicate rainbow tints. 
A pretty picture they made, Mr. Clifford 
thought, as he went forward to meet them among 
the white stems. The fair, high-born child in 
her white shimmering dress, with her graceful 
movements, her delicate, finely-cut features, 
her calm white brow, and deep dreamy, blue 
eyes, and at her side the little dark, keen Celt, 
with her black matted locks, her bright dark 
eyes, and her short firmly-knit limbs. Blanche's 
arm was thrown lovingly around Morag, and 
one of her long fair curls rested on the little 
brown neck of the mountain maiden, who tim- 
idly surveyed the formidable group in front. 
Blanche ran to her papa to whisper that Morag 
wanted to go home very much now, to make 
supper ready for her father, so that she must 
not be kept much longer, and might she ask her 
to come back to-morrow ! Deprived of her 
bonnie wee leddy's protecting arm, Morag felt 
very forlorn. The whole party were now in 
view, and a very terrible array they seemed 
to the little mountaineer. 

There stood Miss Prosser in gay flowing 
attire ; and there were the gentlemen whom 


she had watched from afar on their way to the 
moors; but they seemed doubly formidable 
now in evening dress, as they stood talking and 
laughing together. Even the bonnie wee 
leddy, since she has glided to her papa's side, 
appeared again to have taken her place in an 
exalted fairy region, and poor Morag felt alone, 
without prop or stay. She seemed seized by a 
sudden panic, and, casting a bewildered glance 
round about her, she turned and darted away 
at full speed through the gleaming birch stems, 
and in a moment she was out of sight. 

" Bless my soul, what a droll little monkey ! " 
exclaimed the old Major, dropping his eyeglass. 
" I expect to see her climb a tree directly and 
take to cracking nuts eh ! Blanche ? '' 

"Poor little Morag! she is so shy and 
frightened : that's just how she did before. 
I'll tell you all about it afterwards, papa," 
whispered Blanche, as she was about to dart 
off in vain pursuit of her scared friend. 

" No, Blanchie, you must not follow her," 
said Mr. Clifford, calling her back. " She did 
look very frightened, poor little atom ! It's 
best to let her go home. Take counsel from 
your sage nursery-rhyme, ' Leave her alone and 
she'll come back, and bring her tails behind 
her. 1 Little Bo-peep must have patience, you 

68 MO RAG. 

know. Besides, it's quite time for you to go 
indoors, child," he added, as Blanche shivered. 
"Good night, darling! Don't distress your- 
self about your little elfish friend ; she will 
doubtless turn up to-morrow." 

M )rag did not halt in her sudden flight till 
she had got beyond the castle grounds, and 
found herself once more on her solitary familiar 
heath. Then she began to slacken her pace a 
little ; and now that she had time to ponder 
the matter over, she thought that perhaps, after 
all, it was very foolish to run away as she had 
done. These grand ladies and gentlemen did 
not mean to do her any harm ; and surely she 
might have trusted the bonnie leddy who had 
been so kind. Perhaps she might be angry: 
now, and would never come to the fir-wood, as 
she had promised to do, thought Morag, rue- 
fully. Still, she resolved that she would go 
every morning after her work at the hut was 
done, and watch by the lichen-spotted rock in 
the fir-wood, and perhaps one day she might 
see her coming through the trees again ; and 
though it seemed too good to be true, perhaps 
>ihe might be carrying some of those beautiful 
books, of which Morag had caught a glimpse 
through the school-room window of the old 


Blanche's promise that she would teach her 
to read was the greatest event of that eventful 
day, and the thought of it had kept singing at 
Morag' s heart ; for a long time it had been the 
dearest wish of her heart that she might under- 
stand the hitherto mysterious contents of the 
musty old collection of books which lay buried 
in the depths of her mother's big kist, and now 
at last there seemed a chance of that hope being 
realized if she had not thrown it away by her 
foolish flight ; and the little girl sighed as she 
thought of the sad possibility. 

Morag had been sauntering on, lost in hei 
own meditations, since she felt herself at a safe 
distance from the castle. She had climbed 
halfway up the steep hill which led to her 
home among the crags, when she turned to see 
if she could discover any trace of her father on 
his homeward way. 

The sky was cold and grey in the direction 
of the hut where Morag's steps had been bent, 
but as she turned westward all was bright arid 
glowing, and Morag wondered that she had not 
thought of looking before, for she loved cloud- 
land scenes, and had watched many a sunset 
and sunrise from her home among; the cra^s. 

O O 

It was one of those intensely golden sunsets 
that come after storms. The clouds were clus- 

100 MO RAG, 

tering gorgeous in their coloring, and change- 
ful in their hues, and at every moment they 
seemed to open vistas with brighter colors and 
intenser lights within. And as Morag sat arid 
watched the sky, she remembered the picture 
which she had seen in the beautiful book at the 
castle. The bright expanse round which the 
gold and crimson clouds were clustering re- 
minded her of the city lying in the light, in 
the picture. She thought of the dark rippling 
water, and the two men who were struggling 
through it, and looked as if they would be 
drowned. They must have been trying to 
reach the shining city surely, and Morag hoped 
they got there all safe, for the water looked 
dark and cold. 

At last the amber clouds slowly closed on 
the inner sunset glories, like ponderous gates 
shutting out the dark night from a bright 
scene, Morag thought, as she rose from the 
bank, and began to take her solitary way to 
her rocky home. Presently she heard her 
father's whistle, and turning round, she saw 
him climbing the hill behind her. She ran 
back to meet him, and began eagerly to nar- 
rate her chronicle of this eventful afternoon. 

The keeper had never heard his daughter 
so eloquent before, and he listened with his 


most well-pleased smile to all that she had to 
tell about her visit to the castle. Hojv the 
gentleman had come to the hut, and had taken 
her away ; and how he carried a beautiful 
umbrella, and held a bit of it over her head 
the first time in her life she had been under 
a canopy of the kind. And then the beautiful 
room she sat in was duly described, and how 
the bonnie wee leddy had come to her, and 
been so kind. When she came to that part 
of her story, in which truth compelled her to 
tell that she had finished those delightful pro- 
ceedings by running away when she was 
brought before the dazzling company, she was 
relieved to find that her father was not angry, 
as she feared he would be. He only smiled, 
and said, " Ye needna hae been sae feert, 
Morag, my lass. They wouldna be meanin' 
to tak' a bite o' ye; but maybe they'll no 
think the waur o' ye for the like o' that ; " 
and glancing round, as they entered the dreary 
soaking dwelling, the keeper said, smiling 
grimly, "Ye didiia speir if he would tak' a 
seat, I'm thinkin', lass ? What said he aboot 
the hoose, Morag ? " But Morag could not 
remember that Mr. Clifford had made any 
remark on that sore subject ; and presently 
father and daughter relapsed into their usual 

102 MORAG. 

state of dumb silence, as they went about their 
evening occupations. 

At last Morag crept away to bed, and fell 
asleep, wondering whether she should really 
see the wee leddy coming to meet her next 
morning at the grey rock in the fir-wood, 
where she resolved she would daily keep her 
tryst. During the night she kept dreaming 
that she was with the bonnie wee leddy in 
dark, cold water somewhere, and that her arm 
was around her, and the beautiful curls were 
all drenched with wet. She looked for the 
golden city lying in the sun, but she could 
not see it anywhere, and she began to feel 
very frightened in the dark, rippling water, 
when she awoke to find the bright morning 
light streaming in at the little blindless win- 
dow of the hut, lighting up everything, and 
sending its kind, warm rays on the damp 
earthen floor. 

Morag sprang out of bed, and was soon 
at her morning's work with a will. She 
smoothed her tangled locks as well as the well- 
nigh toothless comb would make them, and 
after mending a few of the rents in her tat- 
tered garment, she looked anxiously down, 
in the hope that she did not look like a tramp 
any more. Her father had told her that she 


was a foolish lassie to have refused the " gran' 
goon" that had been offered to her ; but 
Morag did not think so, and felt perfectly 
satisfied with her own garment, if only the 
critical eyes of the smart maid would not stare 
at her so minutely again. 

The keeper had gone to the moors for 
the day, and Morag's morning duties being 
over, she began to think of starting to keep 
her tryst in the fir-wood, when she saw her 
father hurrying up the hill again. 

" Eh, Morag, lass ! but I hae a gran' bit 
o' news for ye. The maister wants ye to go 
outby wi' the wee leddy this afternoon; and 
whiles, to tak' her by canny roads when she's 
ridin' on her sheltie. I'm thinkin' you'll like 
that job, my lass. Ye may awa' til the castle 
as fast 's ye can rin ; he said ' The sooner the 
better; my daughter is an impatient little 
person.' " And, after this quotation from Mr. 
Clifford, Dingwall hurried down the hill again, 
surrounded by the scrambling pointers and 
setters, leaving Morag dumb with astonish- 
ment and delight. 


ORAG was at length fairly installed as 
Blanche's companion in her rides, and 
many a pleasant ramble they had to- 
gether in the long bright autumn after- 
noons. The little mountaineer was still very 
silent and reserved; but her propensity for 
running away had quite vanished now, and 
she could laugh at the shy follies of those 
first days of her acquaintance with the little 
chatelaine. It must be allowed, however, that 
the daily intercourse in no degree diminished 
the deep reverence and admiration with which 
she regarded the bonnie wee leddy, who had 
seemed such a fairy princess when she saw 
her first ; rather indeed these early feelings 
were deepening into that intense, undying 
devotion which is one of the characteristics 
of her race, and one which has often made 
them faithful to death towards unworthy, 
thankless heroes. Occasionally the little pony 


Shag was left behind in his stable, while 
Blanche, with her big retriever Chance, sallied 
forth to meet Morag, at the try sting-place in 
the fir-wood. These afternoons were golden- 
letter days in little Morag' s calendar, for then 
the books were brought, and as she lay among 
the soft moss, surrounded by the thronging 
pillars of pine, with their roof of green, 
arched boughs, this child of the mountains 
made her first entrance to that tower of learn- 
ing, which, after all, is only one of the many 
gateways to the great temple of knowledge. 

Blanche proved a wonderfully patient, 
though eager teacher, and never was there a 
more earnest student than Moras. Still, on 


the whole, these lessons, as yet, only brought 
disappointment. Her progress in the art of 
reading was necessarily slow, and could not keep 
pace in any degree with her desire to know. 
Her intercourse with the little English girl 
had quite roused her from her torpid state, and 
the fragments of ideas which began to dawn, 
set her mind to work in many wistful question- 

Blanche would often shake her curls in per- 
plexity at her friend's strange thoughts and 
queries ; sometimes remarking afterwards to 
Ellis with whom Morag had now a recognized 

106 MORAG. 

existence "She is such a queer little girl, 
Morag ! She has such deep, long thoughts 
about everything, and it seems to make her 
quite grave and sad when she can't understand 
things we read. I'm sure I am always glad 
enough to skip the difficult things, and hurry 
over to the nice, easy, pleasant bits of a book." 
To our little Blanche, the world seemed as 
yet like a happy garden, without any enclosure 
line, where she might enjoy herself as a butter 
fly would, fluttering from flower to flower. It 
would be perfect happiness, she thought, if she 
might w r ander from day to day without restraint, 
hearing pleasant words, saying pleasant things, 
getting all the enjoyment possible, while avoid 
ing everything which seemed hard or disagree- 
able. And the years to come, when she would 
be a grown-up lady, having the freedom that 
she so longed for, lay in the dim distance like 
the expected hours of a pleasant summer-holi- 
day, with all kinds of delicious possibilities 
folded in each. The world with all its wonders 
seemed like a playroom to her, and the marvels 
of nature interested her, just as playthings had 
done in the old nursery days. To her, nature 
had never spoken in faint mysterious whispers 
of a beauty and glory higher than its own, as it 
had sometimes done to the lonely little maiden 


in her wild mountain home. Nor did Blanche 
understand, any more than Morag, that the God 
whose voice is in the storm, who shapes the 
grass and blanches the snow, is the same God 
who came to dwell upon earth ; not that He 
might rejoice and revel in the fair world which 
He made, but to be its Saviour from the curse 
and the stain with which sin had defiled it. 

Sometimes Blanche would recount with dim- 
med eye and flushing cheek to her mountain 
friend stories of noble deeds or patient suffer- 
ings of which she had read or heard ; but there 
was one story with which Blanche had been fa- 
miliar from her babyhood, though it had never 
stirred her heart nor had any interest for her at 
all, and she felt much surprised and somewhat 
disappointed when Morag begged that the New 
Testament should be her lesson-book. She 
seemed to look on Blanche's smartly-bound 
volumes with great interest and reverence, but 
always brought with her to the fir-wood the big 
old Bible with its musty yellow leaves, and its 
smell of peat-smoke. After the lesson was over, 
which as yet consisted in a recognition of the 
letters of the alphabet, or efforts to spell out 
the easy words, Morag would beg Blanche to 
read a little to her; and as the silvery voice 
flowed pleasantly on, she would listen with an 

108 MO RAG. 

eager interest which surprised the reader, and 
in which she did not share. 

On Sunday afternoons it was Blanche's task 
to read a chapter of the Bible with Miss Pros- 
ser ; and rather a wearisome one she always 
thought it. The verses seemed to her like a 
collection of puzzling phrases strung together, 
and she was glad when the hour was past, and 
the book restored to its shelf for another week. 
At church, too, she always looked upon the 
Lessons as the most wearisome part of the 
service, and rejoiced to hear the organ peal 
again, and the choristers' voices ring through 
the aisles. But Blanche was really anxious to 
be helpful to Morag, and it vexed her that there 
were so many things which she could not ex- 
plain to her little friend, who was so eager to 
learn and know everything. 

One afternoon, when matters were in this 
state, the girls started with Chance and Shag 
to have a long ride. Morag never seemed foot- 
sore or tired, however far she walked, and noth- 
ing would persuade her ever to mount the 
pony. Blanche renewed her entreaties each 
day that she would ride for a little sometimes ; 
but Morag would shake her head in a decided 
manner, as she was wont to do, saying, quietly, 
"I'll no leave the heather, leddy; my feet's 


ower weel acquaint wi't to be gettin' tired." 
Sometimes she would recount in her low tones, 
as she trotted by Shag's side, holding a tuft of 
his mane, walking exploits which seemed mar- 
vellous to Blanche, as she gazed at the heathery 
heights so near the sky, which the little brown 
feet had scaled, and she began to feel ambi- 
tious to be able to perform similiar feats. " It 
would be such fun to climb one of those hills 
to the very tip-top, quite alone by ourselves," 
she would sometimes say. " I shouldn't tell 
Miss Prosser, you know, because she would be 
sure to say it was out of the question. I should 
coax Mrs. Worthy to give us a lot of sandwiches, 
and we would take a bottle of milk with us, 
and that would be having a flask like papa. 
Oh ! it would be so nice, Morag ; I really think 
we must set out the first chance we can find." 

But Morag was scrupulously faithful to her 
post as guardian and guide, and always loyally 
disapproved of any proposal that might meet 
with disapprobation ; and she had, moreover, a 
quiet power over the impulsive little Blanche, 
which generally prevailed. 

The cavalcade had started this afternoon on 
the same road which Blanche and her father 
took on the first day when they rode together 
in Glen Eagle. The ground was not so quickly 

110 MORAG. 

gone over on this occasion. There were many 
objects of interest which Blanche wanted to 
examine, now that Shag had not to be kept up 
to the swinging trot of her father's hunter. 
Occasionally the little Shetlander got rather 
tired of such a loitering pace, and would shake 
his mane, and give his tail a whisk, as if to say, 
" Come 6n, my little mistress ! This slow state 
of affairs is excessively tiresome; let's have 
something lively;" and off they would start 
on a sharp trot, leaving Morag far behind, but 
presently returning to her. 

Shag and his mistress had now started in 
one of these frisky fits, and Morag seated her- 
self at the roadside to wait till they should re- 
appear again. Left to her own meditations, 
she began to think of something which Blanche 
had been reading to her yesterday in the fir- 
wood. She would fain have heard more, but 
the little lady had closed the book with a yawn, 
and stretching herself on the soft turf, said, 
impatiently, " O Morag ! I do wish I had my 
' Illustrated Fairy Stories' here ; I should be 
so glad to read them to you, and I'm sure you 
would like them they are so nice ; " and 
then she began, in glowing words, to tell one 
of them, and Morag thought it very delightful, 
indeed; but still her thoughts would wander 


back to a wonderful story which she had heard 
for the first time that afternoon. Blanche had 
happened to read in the end of St. John's Gos- 
pel, where we hear about Mary Magdalene find- 
ing the rocky grave of the Lord empty, to her 
great wonder and grief, till she recognized the 
dear familiar voice of the Master, who had risen 
again from the dead, and drew near to comfort 

Morag had been able to gather from 
Blanche's reading a little about our Lord's life 
on earth, and all the wonderful things which 
lie went about doing ; and she knew that at 
last He had been killed by wicked men, and 
laid in the grave still and dead; but from this 
story it would seem that He was alive again ; 
and Morag could not understand it at all. 
Often she wandered into the little graveyard 
in the Glen, and among the worn mossy head- 
stones peeping from the long rank grass, which 
told the names of the quiet sleepers below. 
Sometimes, too, she watched a little company 
of mourners, with their sorrowful burden, 
wending their way along the white hilly road ; 
and when she went to see her mother's grave 
next time, she would notice a fresh green sod 
somewhere near, and she knew that another 
dweller in the Glen was laid there, in his long 
home, never to be seen among them more. 

J12 MO RAG. 

But this good Lord, who died on the green 
hill, and was laid in His rocky grave, seemed 
to have come back to the world again to speak 
loving words to everybody, as He had done 
before He was crucified. Could He, then, be 
alive in the world now ? Morag's heart gave a 
great throb when she thought of it. Perhaps 
one day He might come to the hut and speak 
kind words to her, as Mr. Clifford had done on 
that rainy afternoon when she was so wet and 
miserable. Perhaps He might offer to get the 
roof of the hut put right too, since the laird 
wouldn't do it, and even to give her father a 
new house, which he wanted so much. But 
Morag thought, that to hear His voice speaking 
beautiful kind words, as He used to do to the 
people long ago, would be better than anything 
else ; and as she thought of it, her hope grew 
stronger every minute, that one day He might 
come to the Glen, and she might see Him and 
hear His voice. 

Blanche came galloping back at last, her 
face all aglow with happiness, and her long 
curls floating about her. 

" O Morag ! " she cried, excitedly, " I want 
you to come and see the prettiest little cottage 
I ever saw in my life, with delicious lumps of 
green moss growing out of the brown roof, and 


pretty roses climbing up the wall. Papa and 
I passed it before, when we rode this way, and 
we saw such a nice old woman in the cornfield 
behind the house. She was tall and stooping, 
and looked so very tired all alone at work 
among the sheaves of corn. She looked up 
with such kind beautiful eyes when Shag and 
I passed. I should like so much to see her 
again ; but I've been looking into the field, and 
she isn't there, and it's all bare now." Blanche 
had been prattling on, not noticing Morag's 
flushed cheek and perfect silence. " Did you 
ever see the cottage, Morag ? " she continued. 
" Do you know if the old woman really lives 
there, or anything about her? Do you hear, 
Morag \ " 

" Ay ! I'll be whiles seein' her when I'll 
be passin' this road. It's Kirsty Macpherson's 
hoose," replied Morag, in low, reluctant tones, 
as if she were unwilling to volunteer any in- 
formation on the point. Blanche noticed that 
there was something wrong, and they went 
slowly on without speaking, till they came to 
another winding of the road, and the cottage 
in question came in sight. Blanche looked 
longingly across the old grey dyke from the 
dusty road into the pleasant little garden, with 
its sweet-smelling, old-fashioned flowers and 

114 MO RAG. 

herbs growing side bj 7 side with the gooseberry 
and currant bushes shaded by one or two 
ancient rowan-trees. Morag was evidently 
trying very hard to avert her eyes, and kept 
steadily gazing into Shag's glossy mane, when 
Blanche exclaimed, as if inspired by a new and 
pleasant idea 

" Look here, Morag ! suppose we knock at 
the door, and ask the old woman to give us 
some water to drink? that would be a good 
way to see her again, you know ; and, besides, 
I'm really thirsty, after my gallop. Do let's 
go at once ; it will be such fun." 

"Ye'll need to ask it yersel, then, leddy. 
I'll no darken the door," replied Morag, with 
flushing face, and an expression about her 
mouth which suddenly reminded Blanche that 
she was the daughter of the sinister-looking 
keeper, under whose glance she had felt so 
strangely uncomfortable on the evening of 
the first day in the ' Glen. She felt puzzled 
and annoyed at Morag's reply ; but she was 
a wilful little person and loved to have her 
way at any cost. So she pulled up Shag, and 
prepared to dismount, saying, rather impatient- 
ly, " Well, Morag, if you don't wish to go, you 
needn't ; though I really can't think why you 
shouldn't want to see such a nice old woman 


But there isn't any harm in my going to the 
door surely ? and besides I'm really thirsty. 
You won't come then ? " added Blanche, who 
had now dismounted, and was gathering up her 
habit as she moved towards the little rustic 
garden-gate. But Morag made no reply ; and 
taking hold of Shag's bridle, she went slowly 
on along the road with a dogged expression on 
her face. 

The cottage door was ajar, and Blanche could 
see into the room at one end, and there, seated 
at the low fireside in a high-elbowed chair, 
quietly reading, she recognized the old woman 
whom she had seen in the field binding the 
sheaf. The little girl knocked gently, but the 
moment she had done so, she began to wish 
that she had not come, especially when Morag 
seemed to be so opposed to her going. It was 
too late to repent now, however. The old 
woman had heard her knock, and laying down 
the spectacles on her open book, she rose to go 
to the door. She looked at the little girl with 
the same placid face and kindly look in her 
gray eyes as she had done across the dyke in 
the cornfield, and waited quietly to hear what 
she wanted. Blanche stood silent for a few sec- 
onds, feeling rather foolish, and forgetting in 
the confusion of the moment the mode of ad- 

116 MORAG. 

dress which she had previously arranged, but 
at last she managed to gasp out nervously, 
" Oh ! please, I was only passing this way 
with Morag and Shag, and I felt rather thirsty, 
and thought perhaps you would be so very 
kind as to give me some water to drink 2 " 

"That will I, my bonnie bairn. Jist ye 
step ben here," said the old woman, smiling 
kindly. Blanche followed her, looking round 
this new interior with considerable curiosity. 
There were only two rooms in the cottage, the 
but-end and the ben-end, as they are called in 
Scotland. Within, as without the cottage, 
everything was beautifully trim and neat. 
The floor of the room was earthen, but it was 
smooth and dry, and looked quite comfortable. 
The tables and chairs were all of clean white 
wood, and on the shelf above the table were 
ranged rows of white and blue and yellow 
shining delf. The fire was on the earthen 
floor, kept together bv two blocks of stone; 
and on either side, in what is called the ingle- 
neiik, there stood one or two little stools, and 
near the big arm-chair, where the solitary 
inmate had been seated. 

Blanche had time to note all these sur- 
roundings while the old woman took a pitcher 
and went to fetch some water. It was rather 


an exertion for her now to go down the steep 
steps to the well, and indeed she had a supply 
of water in the house which was meant to 
serve for the day; but Kirsty always liked to 
give the best she had, and she went gladly to 
fetch a draught of cool, clear water from the 
mountain spring for the thirsty little maiden. 
Presently she returned, and setting the pitcher 
on the earthen floor, she took a shining delf 
jug from the shelf, and filling it she gently 
offered it to Blanche, saying, with a smile 

" Here noo, my bonnie lambie, is a drap o' 
cauld watter to ye. Ye're welcome tilt. May 
ye get a lang draught o' the watter that Pie 
gies, afore ye try a' the broken cisterns o' this 
warl.' " 

Kirsty *s dialect was more difficult for 
Blanche to understand than even Morag's. 
She came originally from that part of Scotland 
where a rough, harsh dialect is spoken, almost 
as difficult for English people to understand as 
a foreign language would be. Blanche, how- 
ever, understood sufficiently to make her reply 

" Oh ! that is the water we read about in 
the Bible, is it not ? I suppose you are very 
fond of reading the Bible, and know all about 
Jesus Christ? I do wish Moras? had been 

118 MO RAG. 

here; you might have told her some of the 
things she is so anxious to know. She's so 
fond of the New Testament, so much more 
than I am. She's such a nice little girl, Morag. 
I'm sure you would like her if you knew 
her," added Blanche, eagerly, on peace-making 
thoughts intent. " She is the keeper's daughter, 
you know, and often goes out with Shag and 

The old woman, in her turn, had difficulty 
in understanding the little English girl's rapid, 
silvery flow, and Blanche had again to explain 
that the keeper Dingwall's daughter was wait- 
ing outside. 

" Alaster Dingwall's bairn, say ye ? I hae 
heard tell she wasna an ill bairnie, puir thing. 
She's ootby there, is she? I wad like richt 
weel to tak' a look o' her. It's mony a lang 
day sin' I hae lookit intil her faither's face. 
"Weel div I min' upon the last time, though," 
continued the old woman, with a sad look in 
her calm gray eyes. 

" She's at the gate with Shag ; do come and 
see her," said the impulsive little Blanche, for- 
getting how unwilling Morag had been to make 
any advances to Kirsty. 

" Do you live quite alone in this cottage? 
Aren't you very lonely sometimes ? " asked 


Blanche, as she watched the old woman mov- 
ing about her solitary habitation. " I'll come 
back and see you again soon, if you would like ; 
and perhaps Morag may come in with me, 
next time," added Blanche, in an encouraging 

" 'Deed, an' I'll be richt glad to see ye, my 
bairn, gin yer folk kens ye're here, and doesna' 
objec. I'm thinkin' ye're fond o' a bit flouer, 
like mysel," said the old woman, smiling, as 
she pulled a pretty yellow rose from the wall 
beside the cottage door, where it had been care- 
fully fastened, to preserve it as long as possible, 
and gave it to the little girl, who had stopped 
to admire it. 

Meanwhile, Morag and Shag were waiting 
on a shady bit of the road, a few yards off. 
Blanche ran eagerly forward to meet them, 
whispering in an excited tone to Morag 

" O Morag ! you'll like her so much. She 
is such a nice, kind old woman ; and besides," 
she added, in a lower tone, " I think she knows 
all about Jesus Christ just what you are so 
anxious about. She's coming now to talk to 
you ; she knew your father once, she says, and 
wants to see you." 

The old woman came slowly along the 
road towards them, but Morag's face wore a 

120 MO RAG. 

more dogged expression than ever, and she 
turned away from Blanche, and began to plait 
Shag's mane in dumb silence. 

" So ye're Alaster Dingwall's dochter, my 
bairn," said the old woman, slowly, as she 
looked at the little hot-cheeked girl. "Ye 
maybe diuna ken auld Kirsty, but yer faither 
will min' o' her, fine. Will ye tell Alaster 
Dingwall that Kirsty Macpherson is willin' to 
forgie him, though he brocht sair trouble upo' 
her ance. But it's lang syne, and we maun 
forgie, as we hope to be forgien," and the old 
woman held out her long, thin hand to Morag 

The little girl glanced at her with a mix- 
ture of curiosity and surprise, and her face 
worked nervously; but she gave no hand in 
return, and preserved a dogged silence. 

Blanche wondered greatly how the good lit- 
tle Morag could ever have grown so naughty 
all of a sudden, and there followed an awkward 
silence, only broken by some manifestations of 
restlessness on Shag's part, as if he thought it 
v-as more than time to start for home. At 
last Blanche thought there was no use of wait- 
ing longer for any rift in the cloud, and going 
up to the old woman she laid her little flutter- 
ing hand in the thin fingers, saying, u Good- 
bye, Kirsty, and thank you very much for the 


nice drink of water, and for this pretty rose. 
I'll make Ellis fix it in my curls when I'm 
dressed for the evening. I shall come back to 
see you again, at any rate," she added, with 
an emphasis on the personal pronoun, as she 
mounted Shag, and turned to go, while Morag 
followed silently, with downcast eye and linger- 
ing step. 

The old woman shaded her eyes with her 
long thin fingers, and stood watching them till 
they were out of sight, and then she returned 
with glow steps to the cottage. She sighed as 
she glanced round the room, which a few min- 
utes ago had been filled by the child's bright 
presence. It seemed more solitary than usual 
now, Kirsty thought, as she looked wearily 
round. " She said she thocht I maun be some 
lonesome. Sic a bonnie bit blink o' a lassie ! 
I wad like richt weel to see her agin. I liket 
the look o' Alaster DingwalTs bairnie. Surely 
he couldna hae pitten her agin me ? She 
lookit some dour like, and would na speak 

Like persons who live much alone, Kirsty 
nad the habit of thinking aloud; and, indeed, 
her thoughts were so often with a living, listen- 
ing Friend, that the practice seemed quite a 
natural one. As she pulled out her rough blue 

122 MO RAG. 

stocking, which she was knitting, and seated 
herself on the doorstep, in the yellow after- 
noon sunlight, she continued " If I didna 
mistak that wee leddy wi her sweet tongue, she 
said that the bairn was wantin' to ken aboot the 
Lord Jesus. Eh ! Lord, but Thy th ~>chts are 
wonderfu' and Thy ways past fiudin' oo.<. Puir 
lambie ! may the gude Shepherd lead her til 
Himsel. It's a pity gin her faither has pitten 
her agin me. I wad like to see the lassie, 
whiles. There's been nae bairn i' the house 
sin he gaed away. Mypuir, lost laddie-! fat's 
come o' him ? O Lord ! I wad fain ken aboot 
the wanderin' sheep afore I gang hame mysel," 
and the old woman covered her face with her 
withered hands, and rocked to and fro in silent 
grief, at the memory of a life-long sorrow which 
was ever present with her. 

In the meantime Blanche and Morag had 
been going on their homeward way. The after- 
noon was beautiful as before, and the soft cool 
breeze made the road through the heather very 
pleasant indeed ; still neither of the girls felt 
so happy or light-hearted as they had done when 
they started. 

" The little rift within the lute, 
That soon must make all music mute," 

had this afternoon shown itself for the first time 


since they became friends. With Blanche, how- 
ever, it was only a momentary feeling of un- 
pleasantness and perplexity as to how Morag, 
the wise and g->od, should on this occasion 
have behaved so badly. It was not her habit 
to keep her thoughts to herself, so she pres- 
ently exclaimed, "Well, Morag, I really can't 
understand what makes you dislike such a nice 
old woman. You were really quite sulky and 
rude when she held out her hand." 

A host of bitter feelings were surging in 
poor little Morag's breast, and she made no 
reply to Blanche's remark. She had tried so 
hard to do what was right, much against her 
own inclination, and now everything seemed 
wrong. Her bonnie wee leddy, whom she 
loved so well, and wanted so much to please, 
had called her rude ; and very rude, ce. , in , 
must Kirsty have thought h.r. 

Little did Blanche know what a familiar, 
enchanted spot this cottage was to Morag. 
How often she had glanced wistfully into the 
little garden with its sweet-scented flowers the 
nicest she ever saw in her life, and how she 
had longed to speak to the old stooping woman 
moving about among them. On one eventful 
occasion, as she happened to pass along the 
dusty road, Kirsty stood knitting at the gate, 

124 MO RAG. 

and, looking at the little girl with her kindly 
smile, she had said, " It's a richt bonnie day, 
my bairn." That was all ; but poor little 
Morag went home feeling as if a great event 
had happened, and resolving that she w^ould 
pass that way again, in the hope of such an- 
other salutation. She recounted the circum- 
stance glowingly to her father, but as he lis- 
tened, his face wore its darkest frown, and he 
said sternly, " Ye're no to be passin' that way 
agin, I tell ye, gettin' Kirsty Macpherson's 
clavers. Depend on't, she didna know your 
name was Dingwall, or she wouldna hae spoken 
til ye. Ye'll no be darkeuin' her door agin. 
D'ye hear, Morag ? " and the little girl had re- 
plied meekly, for she noticed that her father 
was in one of his darkest moods. 

Morag had often pondered the matter, and 
wondered why her father disliked Kirsty so 
very much. Always when they chanced to 
pass by the road, Dingwall would glance un- 
easily at the cottage and its garden to see if 
the old woman was about, and presently he 
would make some bitter remark, and repeat his 
injunction that Morag should have nothing to 
do with the "like o' her," till the little girl 
had come to think that though Kirsty looked 
so delightful, she must surely be a very \vicked 


woman. Still, she had a curious fascination 
for the little girl ; she longed to see the inte- 
rior of the pretty cottage, and felt a great in- 
terest in all the ongoings of its inmate which 
it was possible to observe from afar. She had 
always conscientiously avoided an encounter, 
however, and on this afternoon she had in loy- 
alty to her father shaped her conduct, which 
Blanche characterized as rude. But now Morag 
began to doubt whether Kirsty could really be 
a bad woman after all ; she looked so gentle, 
and had spoken such kind words, and that 
strange message to her father, too, what could 
it mean ? The little girl could not understand 
it, and she walked by Shag's side in silent per- 
plexity and distress. 

Blanche began to feel rather uncomfortable 
in having Morag walking by her side so sadly 
and quietly. She could not be long silent un- 
der any circumstances, and finally took refuge 
in a lively conversation with Chance, who had 
been keeping beside her with rather a depres- 
sed aspect, as if he guessed that something 
was wrong. At last, when he bounded oft' in 
pursuit of a rabbit which had crossed the 
road, Blanche felt glad of the excuse to fol- 
low, and trotted off, leaving poor little Morag 
companionless. More heartsore than footsore, 

126 MORAG. 

she wearily seated herself on the heather to 
await their return. Her tears were not in the 
habit of flowing readily, indeed she hardly re- 
membered having a fit of crying since she was 
a little girl ; but as she sat on the bank, the 
bright sky and the purple heath seemed sud- 
denly to become dim to her eyes, and hot tears 
rolled down the brown cheeks, and trickled 
through the little hands, which would fain 
have hid them from the day. It was so hard, 
she thought, to have tried to be good and 
obedient, and yet to feel so much in the wrong 
as she did now, and to be so bitterly disgraced. 
If the wee leddy could only know how much 
she would like to have gone to the cottage- 
door with her, and what a struggle it had been 
to refuse when the opportunity, so longed for, 
had presented itself. How nice it would have 
been to see what was inside those pretty cur- 
tained window's, and to watch the old woman 
moving about the cottage ! And the wee leddy 
had said something about Kirsty knowing the 
Lord Jesus ; so she would be sure to be able 
to tell her all the things which she wanted so 
much to know. 

Morag laid her head among the heather, 
and wept bitterly at the thought of all she 
had missed that afternoon. And as she lay sob- 


bing there, the remembrance of the story which 
she had heard the day before for the first 
time flitted across her little troubled heart like 
a gleam of light. The Lord Jesus seemed 
always so very willing to help and comfort 
everybody in trouble before the wicked men 
crucified Him on the green hill. And had 
He not even come back again after He was 
laid in His grave, and spoken such kind words 
to the woman who stood weeping there, and 
might He not be able to help her now? 

Hardly knowing that she spoke aloud, Mo- 
rag buried her face among the bracken, and 
cried in her distress, " O Lord Jesus ! gin ye 
be a frien' o' Kirsty Macpherson's, dinna let 
her think ill o' me for no speakin' til her ; and 
mak' me happy again wi' the wee leddy." 

When she had finished speaking, she glanced 
around with an expectant gaze, as if she might 
see a listener standing by her side. But there 
stretched the solitary moors on all sides, with 
the yellow afternoon sun shining calm and 
bright on everything, and sending his kind rays 
upon the sorrowful little girl. 

Meanwhile, Blanche had been trying to 
enjoy her canter. She went further on her 
homeward way than she intended ; and Shag 
remonstrated not a little when his bridle-rein 

128 MO RAG. 

intimated that he must retrace his steps. 
" What ! Shag, do you really mean to say that 
you've the heart to go home, and leave Morag 
all alone ? " expostulated Blanche ; and at last 
the wilful little Shetlander was brought to a 
better mind. 

And now Blanche began to think of the 
troubles which she would have to face again ; 
for she was a little person who could not be 
happy unless she was the best of friends with 
everybody round her, winning and bestowing 
smiles on all sides ; and she felt that it was a very 
uncomfortable state of matters to have Morag 
walking beside her, so sad and silent. It did 
not occur to her that her friend's broken-hearted 
aspect was more than half her doing ; for 
Blanche had yet to learn how much " evil is 
wrought by want of thought as well as want of 
heart." But when she felt herself in the 
wrong it was a much easier matter for her, than 
it is for some people, to seek forgiveness eagerly 
and graciously. All at once it dawned upon 
her that it was not quite kind to have brought 
Kirsty to talk to Morag, who seemed so anxious 
not to see the old woman. Perhaps, indeed, it 
might have been better not to have gone into 
the cottage at all ; and certainly it had quite 
spoilt a pleasant afternoon. Thoroughly peni- 


tent, Blanche resolved that peace must be 
instantly proclaimed between her mountain 
friend and herself. She quickened Shag's pace, 
and swept suddenly round upon poor Morag, 
whom she found starting up from the heather 
with a tear-stained face. Blanche was at her 
side in a moment. 

" O Morag, dear, I'm so sorry ! It's all my 
fault. I've just been thinking I shouldn't have 
brought Kirsty to speak to you when you didn't 
want to see her. Miss Prosser says I'm so 
thoughtless, and, you see, it's quite true. Do 
say you forgive me, and don't cry any more, or 
I shall begin directly." And Blanche's eyes 
filled with tears as she threw her arm round 
the little brown neck, and looked into Morag's 
sorrowful face. 

" It's no that I didna want to see Kirsty, but 
father bid me no speak til her, niver, and I 
couldna' anger him. I would hae liket weel to 
gang inby, though," she added, in a mournful 
tone. Then Morag went on to tell, with much 
unconscious pathos in the narrative, of the ro- 
mance which had grown up round Kirsty Mac- 
pherson and her pretty dwelling, of how long 
she had watched her from afar, often passing by 
that way, in order to catch a glimpse of the old 
woman among her flowers, till her father's in- 

130 MO RAG. 

junction had made it an act of disobedience; 
and since then she had tried very hard always 
to look the other way. Blanche could not help 
thinking, as she listened, how much more good 
and obedient this little untaught maiden had 
proved than she was likely to be in similar cir- 

" But, Morag, I really can't think why your 
father should forbid you to talk to Kirsty. I'm 
sure she can't possibly be a bad old woman ; " 
and Blanche gave a glowing description of her 
visit to the cottage, to which Morag listened 
with eager interest. 

Shag was taking advantage of the pause to 
snap some delicious blades of grass on the road- 
side, as well as his mouthful of steel would per- 
mit, while Chance had drawn near to investi- 
gate the reason of this objectionable halt, and 
was captured by Blanche, who began to twine 
a wreath of deer-horn moss round his reluctant 
neck, as she talked. 

" I'll tell you what you must do, Morag," 
she said presently, jumping to her feet with 
energy, as if inspired by a new idea. " Tell 
your father all about our stopping at Kirsty 's 
cottage, how I would go to ask for some water 
to drink, and how kind and nice she was to me ; 
and wanted to speak to you so much, if you 


only might have spoken to her. And, by the 
by, she sent a message to your father some- 
thing about forgiving him, wasn't it ? I 
couldn't understand her very well. Now, Mo- 
rag, if you only tell your father the whole story, 
and coax him a little, you know, he will be 
sure to allow you to speak to her next time. I 
do want so much to go and see her another 
afternoon ; but I shouldn't care to, if you didn't 
come with me." 

Morag shook her head; she had not the 
same belief in her own coaxing powers as she 
had in the bonnie wee leddy's. 

"I'll maybe try, but I'm thinkin' he'll no 
bear the soun' o' Kirsty's name," said Morag, 
in a desponding tone, as she rose to recapture 
the straying Shag. Then she reminded Blanche 
that they had still a long way to go, and pointed 
to the sun, which was fast westering ; so the 
cavalcade moved on, and both the little hearts 
felt happier than they had before the halt. 

Blanche felt certain that Morag's story 
would melt her father's prejudice, whatever it 
might arise from ; and Morag, though less san- 
guine, began to be more hopeful, and listened 
with delighted smile to the castles in the air 
which her companion was building concerning 
a visit to the cottage ; how they would tie Shag 

132 MORAG. 

to a paling where tie could find some nice grass, 
and deciding that Chance must really be left 
at home, being much too outrageous for a 
small room like Kirsty's. Besides, as Blanche 
thoughtfully suggested, she might very likely 
have a cat, in which case, Chance would be a 
most unwelcome guest, for his sentiments re- 
garding cats were only too well known to his 
anxious mistress. 

Morag was still very shy and timid, and it 
was only on rare occasions that even the little 
English maiden's pleasant prattle could put her 
at her ease. It was quite an effort for her still 
to make a remark or to ask a question ; and 
now, as she nervously took hold of Shag's mane, 
Blanche felt sure that she wanted very much to 
say something which would come out presently. 
At last she asked, in quiet, eager tones, " Will 
ye be so kind as to tell me, leddy, what she 
would be sayin' about the good Lord ? Is she 
weel acquaint wi' Him ? " 

" Oh ! let me see. I forget exactly what 
she said. I think I said that I thought she 
must be very lonely, living there all by herself, 
and she said she would be if it were not for 
the Lord Jesus Christ or something like that," 
replied Blanche, unable to give a sufficiently 
circumstantial account of that part of the inter- 


view to satisfy Morag, who remarked medita- 

" I dinna' min' o' seein' nobody goin' intil 
the hoose, excep' auld Elspet Bruce. Will He 
be goin' to see her, whiles, when she's her lone, 
think ye, leddy ? " 

" Who do you mean ? I never said any- 
body went to see her ; she did not tell me so, 
you funny Morag," replied Blanche, looking 

" I jist thocht maybe He will be goin' inby, 
whiles, when she was terrible lonesome the 
Lord Jesus, ye ken," stammered Morag. 

" Why, Morag, what queer, odd ideas you 
do have ! Nobody ever saw the Lord Jesus 
at least not since He died and went to heaven, 
and that's ever so far away beyond the sun, 
you know, so He couldn't possibly come back. 
I forget how far the nearest planet is from the 
earth. I had it in my astronomy lesson the 
other day only." 

Morag relapsed into puzzled silence. She 
had not the remotest idea what astronomy was, 
and wondered if she should know about that 
too when she was able to read the Bible. 
After a little pause, she hazarded one remark 

" But do ye no min', leddy, how we read 

134 MORAG. 

yestreen about the good Lord no restin' intil 
His grave, like other folk, and when the wom- 
an was cryin' there, how He came inby, and 
was terrible kind like ? " 

" Oh yes," said Blanche, interrupting her ; 
"of course 'He rose again the third day,' the 
creed says so, you know. But indeed, Morag, 
He never comes and sees anybody now. I 
never heard of such a thing in my life. If 
I were to ask Miss Prosser, she would be sure 
to say, * My dear, I'm shocked at your ignor- 
ance,' as she generally does when I ask ques- 
tions." And Blanche sighed at the thought 
of her ignorance, which appeared so shocking 
to her governess in many instances. 

They were coming near home now, and had 
reached the shady birk walk which led to the 
castle, when they heard through the trees Mr. 
Clifford's pleasant ringing tones, which Morag 
loved to listen to. "Well, pussy, what mis- 
chief have you been about this afternoon ? " he 
said, smilingly, as he lifted his little daughter 
from her pony. 

" O papa ! I've so much to tell you. I have 
actually been inside Kirsty's cottage, and it 
looks quite as pretty inside as outside, and she's 
such a nice old woman," said Blanche, raptur- 
ously, forgetting that she had not introduced 
her new acquaintance. 


" I fear I must confess shameful ignorance, 
Blanchie/' replied her father, smiling. " Who 
is this Kirsty ? and where does she abide a 
friend of Moray's ? " 


And then Blanche remembered that was a 
question which might prove embarrassing, so 
she adroitly changed the subject. 

" Oh, here comes Lucas for Shag. I know 
Morag wants to get home to make ready her 
father's supper." she continued, being quite at 
home now in all the domestic arrangements of 
the hut among the crags. 

Morag seemed nothing loath to make her 
escape. She quickly resigned Shag's bridle to 
the old coachman and was turning to go, when 
Mr. Clifford, opening the luncheon basket, took 
a beautiful bunch of grapes, and handed them 
to her, saying, "Here, little black-eyes, take 
this to eat on the way home." 

Morag lifted the dark fringes, and looked 
timidly up for a moment, then a pair of brown 
hands were held out to receive the purple 
cluster. The tartan skirt touched the ground 
in a low curtsey, and after a timid glance at her 
bonnie wee leddy, she walked slowly off, care- 
fully balancing the gift in both hands. 

" I hope she will eat them on the way home, 
and not keep them for her father," said Blanche, 

136 MO RAG. 

sighing, as she looked fondly after her little 

" AVhy, Blanche ! you ungracious little per- 
son ; do you really object to my gamekeeper 
having a share of all the good things going?" 
said Mr. Clifford. 

" Yes indeed, I do, papa. I don't think the 
keeper can be a nice man at all. Only fancy, 
he has quarrelled with that nice old Kirsty, and 
has forbidden Morag to speak to her even ; and 
she is such a good girl she will not do it, though 
she wanted to know Kirsty for ages." 

" And so you are going to be a sort of dam- 
sel-errant, riding forth on Shag to redress all 
the wrongs and quarrels of the Glen,' 5 laughed 
Mr. Clifford, as he looked at Blanche's glowing 
face. "Depend upon it my keeper has some 
very good reason at his finger-ends for having 
quarrelled with this same Kirsty. Perhaps he 
found her poaching ; who knows, Blanchie ? " 

" What's that, papa ? But if it's anything 
wicked, I'm quite sure Kirsty would not do it. 
Is poaching wicked, papa ; and what is it ? " 

" Just you ask the Major, pussy ! Blanche 
has got a knotty question for you to solve, 
Seton," said Mr. Clifford, turning to one of his 
guests. " She wants to know if poaching is 
wicked ! " 


" But I want first to know what poaching 
is, because papa says that nice old woman Kirsty 
may have been poaching, and that is the rea- 
son why the keeper dislikes her so much," said 
Blanche eagerly, as she joined Major Seton. 

" Ah ! I see. You want to know what 
poaching is, and you reserve the right of decid- 
ing whether it is right or not. Very proper," 
said the old gentleman, as he looked kindly at 
the little eager face. " I'll tell you what game 
preservers call poaching ; but, perhaps, if you 
were to ask your friend of the uncouth name, 
she might not give you exactly the same de- 
scription of the word. You might find her sit- 
ting down to sup on a hare, which she caught 
in the act of dining off her nice trim row of 
cabbages some of which she meant for her 
own dinner, probably, if the hare hadn't thought 
them good to eat. Perhaps she might invite 
you to join in her savory supper, and you might 
be sitting smacking your lips over it. But, 
suddenly, an official-looking individual might 
pop his head in at the door with a knowing 
look, and tapping your friend on the shoulder, 
say, in a stern voice, ' My good woman, you 
must come with me ; you've been poaching.' 
And if, in defence, you attempted to explain 
that the hare was treading down the trim gar- 

138 MORAG. 

den, and eating the cabbages when Kirsty caught 
it, ' Just so, little girl,' the individual would 
reply ; ' I see you're in possession of the facts. 
This woman is a poacher, and must be commit- 
ted for trial. My prisoner,' he would say," and 
the Major finished with a little tap on Blanche's 
shoulder, which made her start as if the said 
official were at her elbow. 

" So that's what you call poaching ? " she 
said, with a long-drawn breath. " But, Major 
Seton, how can anybody call it wicked to kill 
a beast that is destroying one's garden when 
gentlemen shoot them only for fun on the 

" So it may appear to our philosophical 
minds, Blanchie; but I doubt whether your 
papa and his gamekteper will take quite the 
same view of the matter. Clifford, your 
daughter is dead set against the game-laws. 
I haven't succeeded in making her view poach- 
ing in a criminal light. She's a born Radical, 
I fear. You must take her in hand, and 
teach her young idea how to shoot in a proper 
Conservative direction," said the pleasant old 
gentleman as he rolled away, but his love 
for truth brought his portly figure rolling back 
again the next minute. " I say, Blanchie, dear, 
I'm afraid my parable was decidedly one-sided. 


Remember that poachers are often no better 
than common thieves stealing a gentleman's 
game as they might steal his watch or his 
umbrella, if they had the chance. So don't 
go romancing in your tender heart over the 
wrongs of poachers, little woman. They are 
often great rascals, I assure you." 

"Well, I only hope papa won't ever put 
a nice old woman into prison for catching a 
creature that was spoiling her pretty garden. 
But do you know, Major Seton," added 
Blanche, in a confidential tone, " I don't like 
Dirigwall. I think he could be very cruel 
and unkind. He has got such cruel eyes 
not a bit like Morag's. I don't like him at 

"Why, what a prejudiced little puss it 
is, to be sure. What ails you at the keeper ? 
Is it a case of the unfortunate typical Doctor 
Fell, I wonder?" But just then Blanche was 
summoned to tea, and the reason, if she had 
one, of her dislike to the keen-eyed keeper was 
not forthcoming. 


was the Sabbath-day. Glen Eagle 
was, if possible, stiller than its wont 
efj!_ no shepherd shouted upon the moun- 
tains ; no reapers stood among the 
upland, half-shorn fields; the moor-fowl had 
peace that day among the heather, unmo 
lested by dog or gun. The white, motion- 
less clouds on the deep blue sky, as well as 
the lower landscape, seemed pervaded by that 
peculiar stillness which Morag always noticed 
belonged to this day, though it brought to 
her no sound of church bells, inviting her 
to mingle her worship with the congregation. 
Sunday was always a very lonely day in the 
little eyrie among the mountains, and during 
these past weeks they had seemed specially 
empty and solitary to the little Morag. For 
then there were no rambles with the bonnie 
wee leddy indeed she seldom saw her on 


these days, except she chanced to catch a 
glimpse of her from afar, as she was driven 
past in an open carriage, embedded in furs 
and dazzling with bright colors. But the 
little gloved hand would always emerge from 
the furs in friendly salute if Morag was in 
view, and the blue eyes look kindly, and often 
longingly, down on the little mountain maiden, 
who would stand watching the shining car- 
riage as it swept swiftly along the winding 
road, and listening to Blanche's silvery laugh 
as it echoed among the silent hills. 

But on this Sunday morning Morag did 
not wander down the hill, as usual, when her 
work was done, in the hope of catching a 
glimpse of the people from the castle. She 
sat very disconsolately on the turf in front 
of the hut, watching her father as he went 
down the hill toward the kennels. 

The keeper had gone to loose the dogs, to 
take them for a long walk, which he always 
did on Sunday. He was not a frequenter of 
the little kirk in the village, and somewhat 
disliked the cessation from his ordinary work 
which the day of rest imposed. This morning 
he had gone off in one of his darkest moods. 
Morag was used to his periods of grim silence ; 
but, of this one, she thought that she could 

142 MORAG. 

trace the cause, and she pondered ruefully 
over the utter failure of the wee leddy's san- 
guine plan for softening the keeper's heart 
towards Kirsty. The story of the visit to the 
cottage, and her share in it, had been narrated 
on the previous evening to her father without 
any other result than a bitter sneer, as he 
said, " Ye did weel, Morag, my lass, no to 
darken Kirsty Macpherson's door ; and gin ye 
be yer ain frien', ye'll jist better keep that 
chatterin' bit leddy outby." 

Morag felt as if she had received a blow, 
but there still remained one other arrow in her 
quiver, and she drew it at a venture. "But, 
father, though I didna speak wi' Kirsty, I 
couldna shut my ears when she was speakin', 
ye see. I hae a bit o' a message for ye frae 
her I'm thinkin' I min' upon ilka word that 
she said this was it : ' Will ye tell Alaster 
Dingwall that auld Kirsty is willin' to forgie 
him ? ' There was some more I'm thinkin', 
but I didna hear right," she added in low, 
troubled tones, lowering her eyelashes, and not 
daring to look into her father's face. 

He was smoking his pipe at the time, and 
he sat gazing gloomily into the red embers on 
the hearth till he had finished. Morag knew 
that he had come in for the night, so she was 


not a little surprised to see him refill his pipe 
again and prepare to go out ; but he gave no 
explanation, so she did not venture to ask any 
questions. It was a fine moonlight night ; 
Morag came to the door of the hut, and stood 
watching him as he sauntered slowly down the 
hill, and went in the direction of a larch plan- 
tation, some distance off, which looked pale 
and shadowy in the clear shimmering light, 
with its background of dark fir-trees that 
stretched beyond. 

These larches were young seventeen years 
ago, when Dingwall had known the place well ; 
and a crowd of strange memories, conjured up 
by Morag's random shot, drew him towards it 
to-night. The little girl had sat watching and 
waiting by the whitening peat embers till she 
grew very sleepy; and before her father re- 
turned from his night walk, she crept away to 

So this bright Sunday morning opened 
very gloomily for the inmates of the hut among 
the crags. Morag had taken the old Bible 
from the depths of -the kist, and it lay open 
before her on the turf, but somehow to-day 
she felt disinclined for the slow spelling of 
the words, and rather disheartened with her 
progress generally. She began to fear that her 

144 MO RAG. 

eye would never be able to go swiftly down 
the pages, understanding every word like her 
little teacher, or as Blanche had said, Kirsty 
was able to do ; and then her thoughts went 
back to the events of yesterday. How sorry 
the wee leddy would be to hear of the plan 
for melting the keeper's prejudice, and perhaps 
she might be angry and call her rude again 
the next time she refused to go into the cot- 
tage. It all seemed very hard, Morag thought ; 
and, as she sat gazing up into the calm sky 
with its motionless clouds, she could not help 
thinking how very far away it seemed from 
her and her troubled ways. Presently these 
sad meditations were interrupted by the reap- 
pearance of her father, who, to her great sur- 
prise, seemed to be coming up the hill again, 
with the dogs all scrambling round him. He 
had only been gone a few minutes, and it was 
his custom to take a long walk, so Morag won- 
dered what could have brought him back, but 
she did not venture to ask any questions. He 
seated himself on the turf beside her, and after 
playing with the dogs for a little, he glanced at 
her with a half smile, and said, hurriedly 

"Weel, Morag, lass, is yer heid as sair 
turned as iver aboot that auld Kirsty Macpher- 
son ? " 


" She looks a real nice old woman, father. 
I canna think why ye'll no let me speak wi' the 
like o' her. She surely canna be an ill woman, 
as ye think," returned Morag, emboldened by 
the smile on her father's face. 

" Wha ever said she was an ill woman ? " 
said the keeper, looking dark again, and ignor- 
ing all the bitter things which Morag had often 
heard him say concerning Kirsty. " We did 
ance quarrel, but I'll no say I wasna maist to 
blame. Gin Kirsty Macpherson speaks a ceevil 
word to ye agin, ye needna jist athegither haud 
yer tongue, lass. D'ye understand, Morag ? " 
asked the keeper, getting up from the turf as if 
he had said what was on his mind. 

Morag could hardly believe her ears. She 
sat watching her father go down the hill again, 
as if she were in a dream. Presently an idea 
seemed to seize her, and she bounded off after 
him, and all trembling with eagerness, she 

"Father, I'm feert Kirsty will be thinkin' 
me terrible rude for no speakin' yestreen. 
Would it anger ye if I jist ran past the cottage 
to see if she was outby? I needna speak gin 
she doesna, ye ken." 

" Oh ay ; ye can gang if ye like, lass. I'm 
thinkiu' that Kirsty is at ween ye and yer wits, 

146 MORAG. 

Morag," he added, smiling at the earnest face. 
" Jist tak' a brace or twa o' the grouse hangiu' 
there wi' ye. The auld wife will think mair o' 
them than us." . 

, t Morag was bounding back to the hut in wild 
delight, when her father called again, " Bide a 
wee, lass. Ye mustna tak' the birds. I dinna 
think she would athegither like sic a present 
frae me." 

Morag stood rather discomfited. The idea 
of a peace-offering had been very pleasant, and 
it was disappointing to be obliged to abandon 
it. She suddenly remembered the purple clus- 
ter of grapes which Mr. Clifford gave to her 
the day before. She had hidden it away as a 
delightful surprise for her father, during some 
period of to-day, and she said, doubtfully 

" I was keepin' some bonnie Iberries for 
ye that the inaister gied me yestreen ; but 
maybe ye wouldna min' if I gied them to 
Kirsty ? " 

" That'll do fine, my lass," cried Dingwall, 
in his most good-humored tone, as he disap- 
peared down the hill, surrounded by the scram- 
bling pointers and setters. 

In a very short time after, Morag might 
have been seen hovering near the little gate of 
Kirsty's cottage, with her peace-offering care- 


fully balanced in her little brown hands. A 
few of the precious moments previous to set- 
ting out had been spent in performing a 
most careful toilette, and the opinion of a bro- 
ken corner of the looking-glass was that the 
black locks had never looked so smooth and 
sleek before. Having scampered down the hill 
in a state of breathless excitement, she did 
not at first contemplate the bold step of en- 
tering the sacred precincts and knocking at 
Kirsty's door, as the wee leddy had done. 
She quite counted on seeing her "outby" 
somewhere, and she hung about on the roadside 
in that hope, but no Kirsty appeared. Then 
Morag remembered that it was Sunday, and 
she began to fear that the old woman might 
have gone to the kirk. The little girl felt 
bitterly disappointed ; for she felt sure that this 
must be the case, since Kirsty was not visible 
anywhere, and no smoke came from the tiny 
chimney of the cottage. If she lost this oppor- 
tunity, she might never have such another. 
What if her father changed his mind again? 
she thought. Indeed it seemed hardly possible 
to believe that she was here with his permission 
when she remembered his stern command on 
the previous evenings that she was never to 
darken Kirsty's door. At last, with exhausted 

148 MORAG. 

patience, she resolved to take the bold step of 
entering the little gate and tapping at the door, 
for had she not a peace-offering ? and it was 
just possible that Kirsty might not have gone 
to the kirk after all. 

Many a time in after years Morag Dingwall 
remembered that first knocking at Kirsty's door 
on the still Sunday morning, and smiled a quiet, 
thankful smile as the vision of the eager, breath- 
less little girl, standing on the threshold of Life, 
rose before her in the shadowy distance of the 

The outer door stood open, but nobody 
answered the knock, though Morag fancied 
that she heard some movement within. The 
doors of both but and T)en were closed, but she 
ventured to knock again, and this time a voice, 
which seemed to sound feebler than the old 
woman's did on the previous day, called " Come 

Morag obeyed the call, and at last stood in- 
side the pretty cottage which she had so longed 
to see. The room looked as pretty as the wee 
leddy had described it, but the arm-chair at the 
ingle-neuk was empty, and there was not the 
faintest glow among the white peat embers on 
the hearth. The little girl looked round in 
dumb surprise, but presently a voice came from 


the bed in the dark-panelled wall, " Eh, lassie, 
but is this you ? Ye're the keeper Dingwall's 
bairn 'at I saw yestreen arna ye ? " and 
Kirsty raised herself in bed, and holding out 
her hand, smiled kindly on the little Morag. 

"Are ye no weel, Kirsty?" she asked, in 
low, sympathizing tones, as she drew near the 
bed. " 

" I'm nae jist verra weel the day. I had 
a bit blastie i' the nicht. 'Deed, bairn, I some 
thocht He was ga'en to tak' me name til Ilim- 
sel. An' fat's brocht ye here the day, my 
lassie ? " said Kirsty, turning kindly to the shy 
little Morag, as she held her hand in her long 
thin fingers. 

" I brought ye some bonnie berries the 
castle folk gied me yestreen. Maybe ye'll tak' 
some," said the little girl, as she' lifted the 
grapes from the table where she had laid them, 
and put them on the bed. 

" Eh, bairn ! but that was terrible mindfu' 
o' ye. They're richt bonnie graps, and will 
cool my mou'. 'Deed, they'll be the first thing 
I hae tasted the day." Morag felt immensely 
gratified when Kirsty plucked a grape from 
the purple cluster and put it into her parched 
mouth. She was now seated at Kirsty's bed- 
side, by her invitation, and began, already, to 

150 MORAG. 

feel quite happy and at home in this enchanted 
interior of her dreams. 

" I'm richt glaid to see ye, Morag," said the 
old woman, smiling kindly on her. " The sicht 
o' a blythe young face does a body guid and 
it's a rare ane to me, sin' mony a lang year,'' 
she said, sadly ; and then, brightening, she ad- 
ded, " But we canna say we're unca lonesome, 
when we can hae a sicht o' His ain face, gin we 
lat Him in. Eh, bairn; but He's aye keepit 
His word wi' me. ' I'll no leave ye comfortless, 
I will come to ye,' " said Kirsty, as she closed 
her eyes and laid her head on her pillow again. 

" Ye'll be meanin' the Lord Jesus, arna ye, 
Kirsty ? " asked Morag, her face all quivering 
with eagerness. "Then He does come, efter 
a' ? " she added, triumphantly. " The wee 
leddy o' the castle said how it wasna possible. 
I would like richt weel to see Him, mysel. He 
maun aye come i' the nicht, surely, for I'll 
whiles be passin' o' this road, and I never saw 
Him goin' inby." 

Kirsty looked at the eager, young face, with 
a shade of perplexity in her calm, gray eyes. 
Morag noticed it, and felt a chill, but she would 
not give it up yet. " It will be the Lord Jesus 
who comes cheerin' ye when ye're feelin' some 
lonesome like, isna it, Kirsty ? " 


" Ay is't, my bairn. And He's willin' to 
come til ye, just the same. It's ane o' His ain 
sweetest words, ' Suffer the children to come.' " 

" But Miss Blanche says naebody iver saw 
Him, and that He doesna go aboot healin' and 
comfortin' folk, as He did lang syne. I dinna 
understan' it richt; for just the ither day she 
read til me i' the fir-wood that He cam' oot o' 
His grave efter wicked folk killed Him deid 
on the green hill, and was speakin' real kind 
.to the woman that was cryin' inby there. I 
would like weel to see Him, Kirsty. I dinna 
think I would be feert." 

" Eh, my bairn, but I see fat ye would be 
at, noo. But ye're jist for a' the earth like 
the onbelievin' Thamas, that wouldna rest sat- 
isfeid till he pit his fingers intil His maister's 
Terra side. "We mauna forget that He says 
Himsel, ' Blessed are they who dinna see, and 
yet believe.' " 

Kirsty's Biblical illustration was too much 
advanced to suit the little untaught maiden, 
but she gathered enough from it to begin to 
fear that the wee leddy must be right after all, 
and presently she said, in a mournful tone 

" Then, Kirsty, it's true that we canna see 
His face nor hear Him speakin' no more at 
all ? " 

152 MORAG. 

" ~No wi' the eye o' sense, my bairn. ' The 
warl seeth me nae mair ; but ye see me,' He 
says Himsel', and He aye keeps His word. 
Jist ye get a sight o' Him wi' the eye o' faith, 
bairn, and it will mak' ye rejoice and be glaid 
a' yer days ; " and the old woman turned with 
a radiant smile to the little girl, who sat gaz- 
ing wistfully, with folded hands. 

It was evident that this good Lord was a 
real present person to Kirsty, however shad- 
owy might be the conception which Morag 
could at present form of Him. But to under- 
stand in any degree that He was a real, pres- 
ent friend, though unseen, was more than Mo- 
rag could know, just then. 

The yellow autumn sun came streaming in 
at the little window, and shone on Kirsty's 
face, showing how wan and wearied it was 
after her sleepless night. Morag was full of 
motherly, ministering instincts, and it made 
her little heart ache to see the kind old woman 
look so ill and feeble. Glancing at the cold 
hearth, she remembered, wondering how she 
could have been so long of thinking about it, 
that Kirsty could not have had any breakfast 
yet, and must be cold and faint for want of it. 

" Wouldna ye be better wi' a cup o' tea, 
Kirsty ? I'll jist licht a bit fire, and be puttin 


the kettle on," said Morag, as she rose and 
began to break some dead branches which 
Kirsty's careful fingers had gathered in the 
gloaming on the evening before. . 

" 'Deed, bairn, I would tak' it richt kin' o' 
ye," replied Kirsty, who had always the good 
grace to receive a favor simply. 

The branches soon began to crackle mer- 
rily, the peats caught the glow, and the kettle 
commenced to sing in the midst of the cheerful 
blaze. Morag moved quietly about, filled with 
contentment that she was able to be of use to 
Kirsty. She had shut her eyes, and was lying 
quietly, so Morag did not trouble her with 
questions, but seemed to know by instinct 
where all the component parts of a cup of tea 
were to be gathered. When Kirsty opened 
her eyes again, it was to see the little maiden 
standing by her bedside with the restoring bev- 
erage all ready, and a bit of beautiful toasted 
bread into the bargain. 

" Eh, but it's unca kin' to be comin' minis- 
term' til an auld body like me," said the old 
woman, as she sat up in bed. " But winna yer 
faither be wonderiri' what's come ower ye ? ye 
mauna anger him, ye ken." 

" Wha wad hae thocht that Alaster Ding 
wall's bairn would be makin 1 a cup o' tay tii 

154 MO RAG. 

auld Kirsty ? " continued the old woman in a 
soliloquy, as Morag washed the cup and plate 
when she had finished her breakfast, and re- 
placed them among the rows of shining delf. 
How very clean and pretty they looked, Morag 
thought ; and she resolved that she would im- 
mediately arrange the slender stock of unbroken 
dishes belonging to the hut after the same 
fashion, and make them look bright and shining 
too. Then she proceeded to build up the fire 
with skilful fingers, and surveyed the room, 
with a thoughtful air, to see what the possible 
wants for the day might be. The pitcher 
which held the supply of water was almost 
empty, so Morag ran quickly down to the 
spring under the tree, and brought it back re- 
filled, and then she poured some into a cup and 
set it by Kirsty's bed. " Thank ye kindly, 
bairn. The Lord reward ye for yer helpin' o' 
an auld frail craeter. Afore ye gang, wad ye 
jist rax me that Bible, an' maybe ye wad read 
a bittie til me ; my eyes are some dim the 

" I would be richt glaid to read to ye, 
Kirsty, but I canna read ony," replied Morag, 
sadly, with an ashamed look ; and then she 
added, " the wee leddy's been try in' to learn 
me, though, and maybe I'll be fit to read to ye. 


some day, but it'll no be for a lang time yet, 
I'm thinkin'." 

" Eh, my puir bairn, I never tliocht but ye 
could read. 'Deed it was ill dime o' the 
keeper nae to sen' ye til the schule," remarked 
Kirsty, in a more severe tone than she gener- 
ally used. 

" How could he sen' me til the schule, and 
it such a laug road frae this, and him aye 
ueedin' me forby," replied Morag, kindling up 
in her absent parent's defence. 

lf Weel, weel, bairn ; maybe I shouldna hae 
been judgin'. We're a' ready eneuf at that. 
But gin ye'll come to see me, whiles, when I'm 
a bit stronger like, I'll gie ye a' the help wi' 
the reading 'at I can. I've a gey curran buiks 

" I'll be real glaid to come back and see ye, 
and I'm thinkin' father will no hinder me, noo. 
I maun be goin' hame, but I'll try and get 
back the morn, to speir how ye're keepin'. I'm 
real sorry to leave ye yer lone, Kirsty," said 
Morag, pityingly, as she glanced at the lonely, 
frail old woman. Then she remembered what 
Kirsty said about not being lonesome when the 
Lord Jesus was with her, and she added, " I'm 
thinkin' when I'm awa, ye'll jist be speakin' 
til Him the good Lord, ye ken." 

156 MORAG. 

" Aye, that will I my bairn ; an' I lioup 
ye'll learn to speak wi' Him yersel. It's 
His ain blessed Word, that them that hungers 
efter Him will be filled. 'Deed but I'm richt 
glad ye're ta'en up aboot Him, Morag. There's 
whiles He stands at the door o' bairns' hairts 
and knocks, and they winna lat Him in ; but 
tak' their ain foolish, sorrowfu' gait. Keep on 
seekiii' Him, and ye'll surely get a sicht o' His 
face or lang. It's jist as plain as gin ye saw 
Himsel' i' the body, like the woman at His 
grave. Now, bairn, ye mauna bide a minute 
langer. Yer faither will be wonderin' what's 
come ower ye," said Kirsty, looking uneasily 
at Morag, who had seated herself again, and 
seemed inclined to linger. " Tak' this bonnie 
word wi' ye oot o' His ain Beuk," she added, 
smiling on the little, grave, perplexed face that 
looked into hers. " ' Them 'at seek me early 
shall fin' me.' Good-day, Morag, and haste ye 

Morag was soon crossing the breezy heather 
road on her way home, with a very happy 
heart, only disturbed by a slight feeling of 
anxiety lest her father should have relapsed 
into his old state of feeling towards Kirsty, 
and she should be hindered from another visit 
to the cottage. 



JNE pleasant day, when the woods and 
hills of Glen Eagle were lying in the 
yellow afternoon sunshine, Morag and 
Blanche wandered into their old tryst- 
ing-place, the fir-wood, which they had rather 
deserted of late. 

The precious holiday afternoons had most 
frequently been spent in the ben-end of Kirsty's 
cottage, and a staunch friendship had sprung 
up between the old woman and the little girls. 
These visits had become a great and daily hap- 
piness to Morag. Kirsty's illness lasted for 
some time, and Morag often thought that but 
for it she should never have felt so much at 
home in the cottage, which she had so long 
watched from afar with a mingled feeling of 
curiosity and dislike ; and now she knew every 
stone and cupboard of it by heart. For had 
she not helped Kirsty on her recovery to make 
a thorough cleaning of both but and ben, for 
which the old woman's active fingers had 

158 MORAG. 

longed, as soon as she was "to the fore" again. 
Already, the little untaught maiden had learnt 
from her old friend many useful household arts 
and wise maxims, and the keeper's home began 
to bear traces of Kirsty's thrifty ways and 
cleanly habits. Every morning during the old 
woman's illness, Morag had started for the cot- 
tage after her own work was done, taking the 
short cut through the heather, and gathering, 
as she went, a little bundle of sticks for the 
fire-lighting. Then, after Kirsty's morning 
wants were supplied and she was not an 
exacting invalid Morag would take her seat 
on a little low wooden stool "which Kirsty 
named " Thrummy," from its being covered 
with shreds of cloth fastened to the wood. It 
was made by her long ago for a vanished child, 
who once had been the light of that now lonely 
home. Morag often sat on it in these days, 
listening with eager, upturned face to Kirsty's 
solemn reading of the book she loved. Her 
rough northern tongue sounded very different 
from the silvery flow of the little English lady ; 
but Morag felt that the words which she heard 
in the cottage were no mere tale to Kirsty, 
" no vain thing, but her life." 

Slowly, the words of Jesus began to sink 
into the little girl's heart, and gradually she 


came to understand, after the first chill of dis- 
appointment was past, that though the earthly 
voice of the Son of Man was heard no longer, 
nor His ministering touch felt among the peo- 
ple, as it used to be in those early days of 
which the Gospels told, yet He was still the 
loving, listening Helper of all who came to 
Him. Kirsty's belief that He was not dead, 
nor very far away, but a very present Friend 
to be listened to and spoken to at all times 
with a certainty that He would both hear and 
help, had in some degree penetrated Morag's 
soul ; and she, too, ventured to bring her little 
cares and troubles to this new-found Friend, 
and had already a spiritual record of help 
given and difficulties met in the name and 
strength of Jesus. . 

And so it happened that Kirsty's cottage 
became quite a rival to the fir-wood, which 
seemed to Morag like a dearly-loved, but neg- 
lected friend, as she trod among the soft moss 
and brown fir-needles on this afternoon. After 
visiting a few of the historical spots sacred to 
the memory of the first days of their acquaint- 
ance, Blanche proposed that they should make 
an exploring tour to a part of the forest which 
she had never visited ; and the little girls made 
their way through the fir-trees to where the 

160 MORAG. 

shadows were darkest, and the arching green 
boughs almost shut out the day. Blanche was 
gay and talkative as usual, dancing hither and 
thither, singing snatches of songs, and making 
the great aisles of pine re-echo with her laugh- 
ter and fun. She kept stopping as usual to 
gather various treasures from the great floor 
of the forest " specimens," she called them ; 
but it is to be feared that they never reached 
a calm state of museum classification. Blanche 
meant that these " specimens" should travel to 
London with her and stowed them away in 
corners of her room with that intention, though 
her design was frustrated in most cases, how- 
ever, by their being deposited in the dust-bin 
by Ellis, while she remarked to cook that she 
" never did see the like of missy for fillin' her 
room with rubbage of all kinds." 

Chance had chosen to remain at home on 
this afternoon, notwithstanding Blanche's pres^ 
sing invitation that he should accompany them. 
He had replied to it by shaking his head, 
knowingly, as if to say, "No, no, my little 
mistress, I'm not going to be taken in. Shag 
is not going, I see ; so you are only going to 
loiter about in an aimless manner, and I should 
certainly be bored. Much nicer here," he 
thought, as he stretched himself lazily on the 


warm stones of the old court-yard, where the 
sun was striking, and snapped at a fly, pre- 
tending to look the other way when Blanche 
made her final appeal to his honor and con- 
science. Perhaps he felt a few twinges of re- 
morse at having so deter mi nately chosen to 
neglect his duty, for he rose presently and 
stood looking after the girls as they disap- 
peared among the birk-trees ; but he did not 
repent, evidently, for he went and lay down 
again, deciding that there was no use of a fel- 
low putting himself about for two silly little 
girls on a hot afternoon like this. 

Morag arid Blanche wandered into the for- 
est till they reached the old road skirted by a 
low, lichen-spotted wall, which was the en- 
trance to the glen, and divided the forest. 
And now Morag's clock the afternoon sun 
told her that it was more than time for them 
to be turning their steps in a homeward direc- 
tion, especially since, that very afternoon, 
before they started, she had received strict in- 
junctions from Miss Pr.osser to see that her 
charge was not again late for tea, since the 
night of time seemed to pass quite unnoticed 
by Miss Clifford. It was by no means an easy 
matter to be time-keeper to such an inconse- 
quent young lady as Blanche, who never re- 

162 MORAG. 

alized the unpleasantness of being late till she 
was brought face to face with Miss Prosser. 
She was now wandering about in all direc- 
tions, adding to her lapful of gatherings, and 
talking pleasant nonsense, while Morag's rare 
laugh was sometimes heard joining in her 

At last they started on their homeward 
way, and Morag was congratulating herself 
that she would be able to present her erratic 
wee leddy in time for tea, when Blanche no- 
ticed a plantation of larches, which looked so 
pretty and feathery through the dark firs that 
she thought she should like to inspect them 
more closely, and coaxed Morag to come on 
with her. 

An old grey dyke separated the fir forest 
from the larches. The girls followed its wind- 
ings for a little, and presently Blanche climbed 
across the loose stones, and went a little way 
into the larch plantation to explore. Morag 
felt impatient to proceed, and walked on to try 
and discover which would be the most direct 
route home through the firs. Presently she 
heard a sound, which her accustomed ear de- 
tected as an unusual one in that silent sanctuary 
of hers. She hastily turned a sharp corner to 
see what the next winding of the dyke would 


disclose, and, in doing so, she almost ran up 
again a sort of tent. It was a very rude erec- 
tion, and consisted of a few large branches 
which had been driven loosely into the ground, 
and partly rested against the old wall for sup- 
port. A tarpauling was thrown over them, but 
it was evidently too small to cover the abode, 
and was supplemented by a tartan plaid, which 
hung across the front stakes, so that no entrance 
was visible. This was not Nature's doing, evi- 
dently, and Morag was seized with a great panic 
when she saw the unexpected human habitation. 
She had heard wild stories of terrible deeds done 
on lonely moors and in lonely woods, and felt 
more frightened than she had ever done in her 
life when she thought how far they were from 
home, and that the precious wee leddy was un- 
protected, save by her. However, she saw no 
terrific personage as yet, and she began to hope 
that the inmates of the tent might be from 
home. But there was that sound again, and 
this time it seemed like the moaning of a voice 
in pain. Morag felt that safety lay in imme- 
diate flight, and she quietly turned to meet 
Blanche, and to make a sign of silence. But, 
before she had time to do so, the wee leddy's 
voice rang out in gleeful tones, concerning the 
varied delights of the larch plantation, which 

164 MORAG. 

the dwellers under the tartan could not fail to 
hear. Whenever Blanche caught a glimpse of 
Morag's startled face, she knew that there must 
be something very far wrong, and she stood look- 
ing at her in questioning silence. Presently, 
a rustling sound made them both turn, and 
Blanche's eye caught sight of the rude tent. 
For a moment she stood riveted gazing at it, 
while Ellis's stories and prophecies concerning 
the gypsies chased each other through her mind, 
and she thought with terror that they had all 
come true at last. 

Presently there was a fluttering of the tar- 
tan awning, and a hand appeared among its 
fringes, as if to make a passage out. 

Blanche's face grew white with fear, and she 
clutched Morag's arm with a scream of terror. 
The little mountain maiden kept quite silent, 
though her face looked as terror-stricken as that 
of her companion. Seizing Blanche's arm, she 
began to pull her along, running as nearly as 
possible in a homeward direction. On they gal- 
loped, breathless and speechless ; but the fir nee- 
dles were slippery, and the trees were in the way. 

h t last Morag felt that the wee leddy's steps 
were beginning to flag ; and, worse than all, she 
fancied that she heard footsteps behind. It 
was a terrible effort, but the suspense began 


to be insupportable, and without slackening her 
pace she turned to look. There, sure enough, 
was a man behind them, gaining ground upon 
them very fast, too. Poor Blanche kept up 
bravely in the race for a while, but now she 
began to fail. First, her hat fell off, and even 
Morag did not venture to turn to pick it up ; 
then her lapful of gatherings dropped one by 
one, tripping her as they fell ; finally she stum- 
bled, and the golden crown was down, down 
among the fir-needles, and the tears were fall- 
ing fast. ]STo entreaties of Morag's could per- 
suade her to move, and the footsteps of the 
pursuer sounded nearer every minute. The 
little mountaineer could have outrun almost 
anybody, but she never dreamt of leaving 
Blanche; and now she seated herself quietly 
beside her bonnie wee leddy, determined to 
protect her to the death. In her distress she 
cried to the unseen, listening Friend, whom in 
these last days she had been learning to know : 
" O Lord Jesus, dinna let the gypsies get hand 
o' us ; and may no ill come ower the bonnie 
wee leddy here," she added as she seized her 
hand, and made a last eft'ort to rouse her to run 
again. She knew that the pursuer, whoever he 
might be, must be close at hand now, but she 
did not dare to look back. Blanche at last 

106 MORAG. 

raised her head, and now, for the first time, 
she heard the sound of the footsteps behind. 
With a shriek of terror she rose to run again ; 
Morag followed, but this time she did not feel 
quite so frightened, somehow, as she had done 
before, and, at last, a sudden impulse caused 
her to turn round to face her pursuer, and 
await her fate. 

Hurrying through the fir trees, she saw, 
not a terrific-looking gypsy, but a pale, slender 
boy, with a gentle-looking face, considerably 
taller than herself. He was signing to her, 
and called something when he saw her turn 
round at last. Morag's terror began to abate 
in some degree, and the boy presently joined 
her, breathless after his chase, and rather fright- 
ened-looking also. He was holding Blanche's 
hat in his hand, which he shyly restored to 
Morag. " She dropt it," he said, pointing to 
Blanche, who still continued to run at full 
speed without turning to look. The restora- 
tion of the dropped hat looked promising ; Mo- 
rag began to feel reassured, and at the same 
time rather ashamed of herself. 

" "Will you be so kind as tell me where I 
can find some water?" asked the boy in a quiet 
tone ; " we are strangers, and mother is very 
sick ; " and his voice faltered. 


Morag's little motherly heart was melted 
in an instant. " I'm real sorry yer mother's 
no weel," she replied in sympathizing tones. 
" I'll maybe find a drop o' water for ye, but 
it's some far frae here. The wee leddy and 
me were terribly frightened, and we couldna 
jist help runnin'," she added apologetically. 

Blanche had halted in her flight, not hear- 
ing Morag's step behind, and her astonish- 
ment was as great as her terror had been the 
previous moment when she turned and saw 
Morag calmly engaged in conversation with 
the object of their fear. She did not venture 
to join them ; but a feeling of curiosity, which 
is a great dispeller of fear, took possession of 
her, and she stood waiting breathlessly to see 
what was going to happen next. 

Presently Morag came running to her to 
explain and consult. The lad slowly followed, 
looking rather more abashed than before, when 
he saw Blanche. He turned to Morag again 
and said, eagerly, "Will you not come and 
see my mother? I think it might cheer her 
to see you. We have come a long way, 
and the water is done, and she is so tired and 
thirsty. I'm afraid she is very ill she says 
she's dying." It was a fine manly face ; but 
the gray eyes filled with tears as he looked 

168 MO RAG. 

imploringly, first at one and then at the other 
of the little girls. 

" Oh yes, certainly ; we shall be glad to go 
and see your mother. I do hope she is not 
so very ill. And, of course, we must find 
some water, though we have to go right home 
for it, Morag," said the impulsive little Blanche, 
every trace of her former fear having vanished 
in a moment. " You must have thought it 
very queer of Morag and me to run away as 
we did. But, indeed, we were dreadfully 
frightened, and quite thought you were dan- 
gerous gypsies, you know." 

The boy's face flushed, but he made no 
reply. Meanwhile, Morag was silently plan- 
ning what would be the best thing to do. It 
was now more than time that Blanche should 
have returned to the castle, and yet here was 
an appeal which it would require a harder 
heart than Morag's to resist. 

" Of course we must help him, Morag," 
whispered Blanche, noticing her hesitation. 
"Don't you see how sad he is about his sick 
mother? I really don't think there could be 
any harm in going to see her. He seems 
so very anxious. Come, let's go for one min- 

And so they turned to retrace their steps 


along the path over which they had hurried in 
such terror a few minutes before, with their 
dreaded pursuer walking calmly and inoffen- 
sively by their side. 

When they reached the tent, Morag recog- 
nized the moaning voice which had at first 
roused her alarm. The boy drew aside the 
tartan folds and stepped in before them, and 
presently they heard a feeble voice say, " Ken- 
neth ! Kenneth ! you've been long away. 
Don't leave me, my boy it won't be long 
now you'll have to stay. I would like to have 
lived to see her, though. "We must surely 
be near the place now. The last milestone 
said three miles from the kirk town of Glen 
Eagle, didn't it? The Highlander said she 
was still alive, you know. You'll seek her out 
when I'm gone she's good and kind, he al- 
ways said. Bring her here, and she'll help 
you with everything there will be to do after 
I'm gone. I would fain have seen her once be- 
fore I died, though ; but you'll tell her I have 
gone to meet her long lost Kenneth, who is 
safe in the happy home of God. You will 
follow Jesus, and He will lead you safe home, 
my boy." 

Morag had been listening intently to the 
feeble, broken sentences, and now she could 

170 MORAG. 

hear that Kenneth gave a great sob, as he said, 
' O mother ! don't speak like that ! I'm sure 
you'll feel better again, when we find grand- 
mother. You've often been nearly as ill before. 
There's a nice little girl I met in the wood, 
going to try to get some water, and maybe 
you'll be better after you get a drink." 

"A girl did you say, Kenny? where is 
she ? " asked the sick woman, turning restlessly 

Kenneth drew aside the tartan screen, and 
beckoned to Morag, who stepped in softly, fol- 
lowed by Blanche. 

In a corner of the tent, on some loose straw, 
lay the dying woman, with her head resting on 
one of the lichen-spotted stones of the old dyke. 
She turned her large, bright, restless eyes on 
the little girls as they entered the tent. Rais- 
ing herself a little, so that she might see the 
strangers, she said, in a feeble, though excited 
tone, " I'm very ill, you see. I've come a long, 
long way to die in this lonely forest. I didn't 
think once that I should end my days like 
this." A fit of coughing came on, and after it 
was over she lay back exhausted. 

Blanche had never seen anybody very ill 
before, and she felt rather afraid of the bright, 
hollow eyes and the strange sound of the short, 


gasping breath, and was much relieved when 
Morag stepped forward and put her little 
brown hand into the white, wasted fingers. 
The little girl could not think of anything to 
say, but she stood, with a pitying look, holding, 
the hand of the sick woman, who seemed 
pleased, and smiled kindly on her. Suddenly 
she seemed to recollect something, and starting 
up, she asked Morag, in an eager tone, " Can 
you tell me where Glen Eagle is? it surely 
can't be far from here ; '' and before Morag 
had time to reply, she added, " Did you ever 
hear of a Mrs. Macpherson who lives near 
there, in a little cottage all alone ? " 

Morag pondered for a moment, and then, 
turning to Blanche, she said, " "Will that no be 
Kirsty ? " 

" Yes, yes ; it is Kirsty ! Christian was her 
name. He used to say they called her Kirsty," 
exclaimed the sick woman, eagerly. 

Kenneth had been mending a fire which 
he had kindled between two of the loose 
stones. As he got up from his knees to lis- 
ten, a ray of hope flitted across his pale, anxious 

" Oh, we know Kirsty perfectly well ! " 
burst in Blanche, glad to be able to say some- 
thing pleasant. " Morag and I go to see her 

172 MO RAG. 

almost every day. She is such a nice old 
woman, and lives in such a pretty cottage ! " 

" Do you think you could bring her here to 
see me?'' said the sick woman, entreatingly. 
4 " I do so want to see her once before I die." 

Morag glanced doubtfully at Blanche. " It's 
no jist terrible far frae here til Kirsty's cottage ; 
but she hasna been weel, and it's a lang road 
for her to come, I'm thinkin'. But 1 wouldna 
be long o' runnin' to see." 

" God be thanked. He has granted me the 
desire of my heart," said the dying woman, 
clasping her hands. " The Lord reward you, 
child. Tell Christian Macpherson that her 
Kenneth's wife is lying dying here, and wants 
to see her to come soon soon," and she sank 
back, exhausted with the effort of speaking. 

"We had better start at once, Morag," 
whispered Blanche, eagerly. " I do hope Kirsty 
will be able to come. It is certainly very far 
for her to walk. Never mind me, Morag," she 
added, seeing her friend look perplexed as to 
the best course of action. " Of course I shall 
be hopelessly late ; but I'll tell papa all about 
it, and I'm sure he won't be angry. He will 
have come from the moors, I daresay, by the 
time we get home." 

" I'm so thirsty ; do you think you could 


find me some water ? It might keep me up till 
she comes/' said the woman, turning wearily 
to Morag. 

And then a new difficulty arose ; for the 
nearest spring was quite half-way to Kirsty's 
cottage, and Morag foresaw that there could not 
possibly be time before dark to fetch the sup- 
ply of water, and bring Kirsty too ; and Ken- 
neth could not go, for the poor woman was 
evidently too ill to be left alone. 

" I'll tell you what we must do," said 
Blanche, quickly perceiving the difficulty. " I 
can't go to Kirsty's, because I shouldn't know 
the way through the wood, you see ! But I 
can stay with your mother," continued Blanche, 
turning to Kenneth, and trying hard to look as 
if she were making an ordinary arrangement, 
she added ; " and you can go with Morag and 
fetch the water, while she goes on to the cot- 

It was certainly a great effort for Blanche 
to make this proposal, but she was very anxious 
to be brave and helpful in the midst of this 
sad scene, and she insisted on -its being carried 
out, though Morag felt very doubtful as to the 
propriety of leaving her bonnie wee leddy all 
alone there. Still there seemed no help for it, 
so she consented at last, and was soon hurry- 

174 MORAG. 

ing towards the spring with Kenneth. They 
walked along the narrow path through the 
forest for a long time without breaking the 
silence. At last Kenneth said in a stammer- 
ing tone, "You've been very kind to us, 
strangers; I'll never forget it, and I'm sure 
mother won't. I think she'll be all right again 
when she has seen grandmother. She has been 
fretting so about finding her." 

" Is Kirsty Macpherson your grandmother ? " 
said Morag in a surprised tone, raising her 
downcast eyes, and looking at Kenneth. " She 
never telt me about ye," she added, musingly. 

They had now reached the spring, and Ken- 
neth having quickly filled his pitcher, and 
looking gratefully at Morag, turned to retrace 
his steps in the direction of the tent. 

The little girl ran on eagerly, more anxious 
than ever to fulfil her mission. Emerging 
from the forest at last, she crossed a small hil- 
lock, and came down at the back of Kirsty 's 
cottage. She found the old woman seated at 
the door, knitting busily, as she watched the 
sunset. The amber clouds were beginning to 
gather round the dying sun, and Kirsty sat 
.watching the cloudland scene with a far-away 
look in her tranquil gray eyes. 

but is this you, my dawtie ? I'm 


richt glad to see ye. I some thoeht ye might 
be the nicht ; but how cam' ye roun' by the 
back o' the hoose?" asked Kirsty, smiling as 
she welcomed her little friend, when she ap- 
peared round the gable of the cottage. 

Instead of answering her question, Morag 
asked, hurriedly, " Kirsty, will ye be fit for a 
good bit o' a walk the nicht, think ye ? " 

" "Weel, bairn, I wouldna min' a bittie, in 
this bonnie gloarnin' ; but I'll no say I'll gang 
sae fast or sae far as I ance could hae done," 
replied the old woman, smiling at MoragV 
breathless eagerness. 

" D'ye think ye could gang as far as the 
other end o' the fir-wood, Kirsty ? " 

" Na, bairn ; but I'm thinkin' ye're makin' 
a fule o' me the nicht. Ye ken brawly I hinna 
gaen that length this mony a day," said Kirsty, 
looking up with a shade of irritation in her 
calm face at the thoughtlessness of her usually 
considerate little friend. 

" Weel, Kirsty, I'm thinkin' ye'll need to 
try it the nicht. There's somebody lyin' there 
that's terrible anxious to see ye." Morag's 
voice trembled, as she continued, "I've a mes- 
sage for ye, Kirsty. Your ain lost Kenneth's 
wife is lyin' i' the firwood, and wants to see ye 
afore she dees !" 

176 MORAG. 

For a moment Kirsty looked bewildered ; 
but there' was no mistaking the slowly spo- 
ken words of the message. Presently she held 
out her hand to Morag to help her from her 
low seat, with a sigh ; and, leaning against the 
door, she stood thinking. Her usually calm 
eyes looked hungrily at the little .messenger, 
and her voice sounded faint and hollow as she 
asked, " Is he there himsel ? " And then she 
added, shaking her head, mournfully, " Na, it 
couldna be ; he would hae come til his mither 

" There is a Kenneth, but I'm thinkiri' he's 
no yer ain, Kirsty," replied Morag, with a 
pitying glance at the poor mother's yearning 

" Tak' me til her, Morag. Kenneth's wife ! 
she's dyin' i' the fir-wood ! The Lord grant 
me the strength to gang." And the old wom- 
an laid her trembling hand on the little girl's 
shoulder as she moved to go. 

Yery soon they were toiling across the hil- 
lock together, and not till they were far into 
the forest was the silence broken. 

Meanwhile, Blanche had seated herself on 
the grey dyke, and was keeping watch beside 
the sick woman. It was a strange vigil to 
keep, alone in the darkening fir-wood, beside 


this tossing, wild-eyed, dying woman ; but, 
somehow, Blanche did not feel frightened in 
the least degree. Since she had taken her 
post, it began to seem the most natural thing 
in the world that she should be there. The 
sick woman took no notice of the little girl for 
some time, and, indeed, seemed hardly aware 
of her presence, till, turning round suddenly, 
she saw her seated there, her fair curls gleam- 
ing in the half darkness. She looked at her 
restlessly for a little, and said presently, " How 
came you here, my pretty dear. You're surely 
far from home. Will your mamma not be get- 
ting anxious about you ? It seems so dark in 
that wood." 

" I haven't got a mamma," replied Blanche, 
vivaciously. " Miss Prosser will be cross, I 
daresay; but I don't think she'll mind when 
I explain. I'm sure Morag won't be longer 
than she can help in bringing in Kirsty," 
added Blanche in a comforting tone, for she 
noticed that the weary eyes wandered restlessly 
toward the entrance of the tent. 

Presently a terrible fit of a breathlessness 
came on, and the poor woman sank back ex- 
hausted on her hard stone pillow when it was 
over. Blanche gazed pityingly at the sufferer, 
and longed for the morrow, when she meant 

178 MORAG. 

to return with various needful comforts. She 
had made up her mind to enlist Mrs. Worthy's 
sympathy, believing her to be more amiable 
than Ellis. 

Meanwhile, she took off her soft jacket, and 
folding it, she slipped it under the poor rest- 
less head on the hard stone. The sick woman 
noticed the pleasant change, and smiled grate 
fully. And as Blanche looked at her, she 
thought how pretty she must once have been, 
before the cheeks had got so hollow, and the 
eyes so sunken. 

It was beginning to get very dark within 
the tent, and Blanche was not sorry to see 
Kenneth make his appearance with his pitcher 
filled with clear water from the spring. The 
sick woman seemed greatly refreshed by the 
draught, which she drank eagerly. But pres- 
ently, she began to get very restless, and kept 
moaning, " Kenny ! Kenny ! are they not with- 
in sight yet ? It's so long since that little girl 
went away." 

At last, after Kenneth had drawn aside the 
tartan folds several times, he brought back the 
news that the little girl and an old bent woman 
were corning through the trees. 

" Oh, it's all right ! Kirsty and Morag 
here they come ! " cried Blanche, joyfully, as 


she sprung out to meet them, saying eagerly 
to Kirsty, " Do come quickly ; she's so very 
anxious to see you, Kirsty ! " 

The old woman made no reply, but walked 
silently towards the tent, looking intently at 
Kenneth, who stood in front of ;t. " My ain 
Kenneth's bairn," she murmured, as she laid 
her trembling hand on his head. Morag heard 
him say, " Grandmother, we've found you at 
last ! Mother will be so glad ! " and he led 
her to where the dying woman lay, and the 
tartan folds shut them out from sight. 

In the meantime, two figures might be seen 
wandering through the forest, searching hither 
and thither in all directions. They were Ellis 
and the keeper, who had started in company to 
look for the missing girls. Blanche's maid was 
in a state of high nervous agitation concerning 
her little mistress. She had been consigning 
her to various imaginary harrowing fates since 
she left the castle in search of her, but the 
keeper had smiled his grim smile, and assured 
her that girls were like kittens, and had nine 
lives. Nevertheless, he too began to feel rather 
anxious about them, after he had reluctantly 
led the way to Kirsty's cottage, where he ex- 
pected to find them safely housed ; but, to his 
surprise, they found it quite tenantless. Ellis 

180 MORAG. 

began to wring her hands in despair when she 
detected a shade of anxiety on the keeper's 
face, after the neighborhood of the cottage had 
been searched without any result. Then Ding- 
wall decided that the fir-wood must be thor- 
oughly explored, for he knew that it was one 
of Morag's favorite haunts. They wandered 
on, searching everywhere, till at last the keep- 
er's keen eye discovered, through the fir-trees, 
the dark tent resting against the old dyke, 
with its back-ground of pale larches. He began 
to feel rather uneasy, and to wish that he had 
brought some defensive weapon with him, for 
there was no trace of the girls, and it was more 
than likely they had been picked up by the 
gypsies, and sharp measures might be neces- 
sary for their recovery. He did not, how- 
ever, confide his fears to Ellis, but went for- 
ward to take a nearer inspection of the encamp- 

Meanwhile, the little girls were hovering 
about the tent, wondering what would happen 
next. Morag had quite made up her mind that 
the wee leddy must instantly be conducted 
homewards, and was relieved to find that she 
was not unwilling to go the reason being that 
Blanche was full of hospitable ideas concerning 
the dwellers under the tartan, and she felt im- 


patient to get home again to enlist all the sym- 
pathy possible in their favor. 

Morag, before starting for the castle, had 
gone to reconnoitre a little round the tent, to 
try to find an opportunity of whispering to 
Kirsty that she would return presently, pro- 
vided her father would allow her. Just at that 
moment, Blanche spied Ellis and the keeper 
hovering about among the trees, and ran for- 
ward to meet them. 

Ellis's anxiety immediately changed to indig- 
nation when she perceived that her little mis- 
tress was safe and sound, and she was about to 
break forth in angry words of remonstrance 
when Blanche held up a warning finger and 
pointed to the tent, which the little fire within 
was making more visible in the darkness. 

" Gypsies, I declare ! " shrieked Ellis. 
" You've been kidnapped. "We're just in time 
to save her ! " she added, wringing her hands, 
and turning to the keeper, who in his turn 
began to feel a shade of anxiety regarding his 
Morag, as she was nowhere visible. 

" Hush, Ellis ; they aren't gypsies a bit. 
There is a very sick woman ly ing there dying, 
she says, but I hope she isn't quite that. They 
are strangers, and have come a long way." 

" Didn't I tell you ? They always come 

182 MO RAG. 

from the hends of the earth. Gypsies, as sure's 
my name's Ellis. Are you kidnapped, missie 
tell me now ? " But Blanche appeared still in 
possession of a wonderful amount of freedom, 
and glanced with an amused smile at the keeper 
as she listened to her maid's suggestions. So 
Ellis continued, in an angry tone 

" What have you ever been about so long, 
missie? Miss Prosser's well-nigh into a tit 
about you, and Mrs. Worthy says she can't sit 
two minutes in one place for anxiety. And 
there's cook, as declares she has miscooked mas- 
ter's dinner for the first time in her life all on 
account of her hagitation concernin' you." And 
Ellis went on to give a chronicle of the various 
distracted feelings of each separate member of 
the household. 

"Has papa come home, then? and what 
did he say about my being so late ? " interposed 
Blanche at last. 

"Oh, well, you see the master is a quiet 
gentleman, and never does make much ado," 
replied Ellis, rather crestfallen that she had 
nothing sensational to narrate from that quarter. 
"But he said we would be sure to find you 
at that old woman what's-her-name's cottage, 

O 7 

where you're so fond of going to ; and you see 
we didn't. Really, missie, it's too bad! I'm 


near wore off my feet between the fear and the 
draggin' after you. I only hope you won't be 
let go out at the door again without Miss Pros- 
ser that's all I've got to say." 

Blanche hoped it was, but she feared not. 
She had a painful consciousness that she was 
jacketless, and felt certain that, sooner or later, 
that fact would be discovered and inquired in- 

Meanwhile, Morag joined them, not having 
been able to get a word with Kirsty, though 
she could hear her voice mingle soothingly with 
the eager, gasping tones of the dying woman, 
who appeared to have a great deal to say to 
this long-sought friend. Morag seemed to feel 
more relief than alarm at the sight of Ellis in 
possession of her little charge. But when she 
discovered her father's tall form leaning against 
one of her pillars of fir, she started, and looked 
nervously towards the tent. The keeper ac- 
costed her rather sternly, saying, " I wonder at 
ye, Morag. I thocht ye had mair wit takin' 
up wi' a set o' tinkers, and bidin' oot so lang, 

Morag did not venture to explain the cause 
of their delay, nor did she mention that Kirsty 
Macpherson was_ so near at hand. She ob- 
served that, though her father seemed quite 

184 MORAG. 

willing now that she should go to see the old 
woman, yet he evidently wished to avoid meet- 
ing her ; and Morag felt sure that to disclose 
the fact that Kirsty was one of the alleged tink- 
ers within the tartan folds, would not help to 
smooth matters. 

"Missie! wherever is your jacket? well, 
I never ! " screamed the maid, with uplifted 
hands, when, for the first time, she observed 
the absence of that garment. 

"My jacket? Oh, never mind, Ellis; it 
isn't cold," replied Blanche, looking rather un- 
easy, but attempting to assume a careless tone. 

" Never mind ! Did I ever know the like I 
Where's your jacket, missie ? I insist on know- 
ing ! " screeched the excited Ellis. " Stolen by 
them vagrants you've been a-takin' up with, 
I'll be bound," and the maid looked at the 
keeper, as if she thought he ought to take im- 
mediate steps towards the recovery of the sto- 
len property. 

Morag glanced anxiously at Blanche. She 
did not know what had become of the missing 
jacket, and she began to wonder whether it 
could have been dropped in their flight from 
the supposed dangerous gypsy. She was about 
to suggest that she might go to look for it, 
when the indignant Ellis continued 


" "Well, keeper, what is to be done ? You 
see Miss Blanche doesn't even deny that 
they've stolen her jacket her beautiful ermine 
one, too. I gave it her on because she sneezed 
this morning. Pity there isn't a policeman to 
set at them," snorted Ellis, in great wrath, as 
she glanced at the keeper, who stood stolid and 
immovable, looking at Blanche. 

The little lady began to feel at bay, and, 
being again challenged by her maid to tell 
what had become of the missing garment, she 
planted herself against a fir-tree, and flinging 
back her curls, she folded her arms, saying in a 
dramatic tone 

"Now, Ellis, listen! I'd rather suffer all 
the tortures we read of yesterday at Kirsty's, in 
Foxe's Book of Martyrs, than tell you where 
that jacket is ! " 

Morag had been about to expostulate with 
the wee leddy ; but now she felt much too 
awed to utter a word. As she stood gazing at 
her, the fir-tree was immediately transformed 
in her imagination to a stake, and visions of 
lighted faggots and rising flames coursed 
through her brain. Ellis, too, seemed rather 
impressed, and Blanche took advantage of her 
position to remark in- her most imperious tone, 
as she quitted her dramatic pose, " Now, Ellis, 

186 MORAG. 

if you say another word about tha.t jacket, I 
shan't go home with you a step. Perhaps to- 
morrow I may tell you what has become of it," 
she added, bending her head graciously, as she 
volunteered to start for home under these con- 

At this juncture, Kirsty suddenly emerged 
from the tartan folds. She had been reminded 
that the little girls still waited by hearing the 
sound of voices, and she came now to urge 
them to return home at once. 

The moon was now giving a clear, plentiful 
light. It shone on Kirsty's placid face, and 
showed her another face which she had not 
looked on for many a year, and it seemed 
strange that she should see it to-night. The 
keeper looked as much startled as if he had 
seen a ghost, when the old woman moved 
slowly towards him, and holding out her hand, 
said, solemnly, " Alaster Dingwall, is that 
you ? " and still holding his hand, she added, 
' Weel do I min' the nicht I saw ye last. But 
come ben, and hear o' the goodness o' the Lord 
frae this dyin' woman. Eh ! but He's slow to 
anger, and plenteous in mercy. The soul o' 
my lang-lost Kenneth is safe wi' Himsel'. He 
has granted me the desire o' my hert. Com. 
ben, and see Kenneth's wife ! " 


Dingwall's usually inflexible face showed 
traces of strong emotion as he listened to Kirsty. 
He made no reply, but was about to follow her 
into the tent, when Ellis, more mystified than 
ever by these strange dealings with these dis- 
reputable gypsies, who had already given her so 
much trouble that afternoon, shouted in angry 
tones, " Well, keeper, if you're going to stay in 
this wood longer, I'm not. Come along, missie, 
we must find our own way as best we can." 
And without waiting for a reply, the indignant 
maid hurried off with her reluctant charge. 

Morag stood watching her father, as he fol- 
lowed Kirsty, bending his tall figure to creep 
into the low tent, and then she sat down on the 
old grey dyke outside, to await the next scene 
of this strange evening. She could not help 
feeling very glad that her father and Kirsty 
were going to be friends at last, though it was 
such a sorrowful occasion which seemed to have 
brought the reconciliation about. Presently 
she saw Kenneth slip out of the tent, looking 
very grave and sad. He came and leant si- 
lently against one of the fir-trees, and stood 
gazing into the pale larch plantation, with its 
long dark grass shimmering in the white moon- 
light. Morag knew that he was looking so sor- 
rowful because his mother was going to leave 

188 MO RAG. 

him, and she felt very sorry too, and longed 
to be able to do something to comfort him ; 
but she thought that perhaps it was best to 
keep quite quiet there, and let him think his 
own thoughts. She wondered whether Ken- 
neth knew and loved his grandmother's Friend, 
and was able now to tell Him all his trouble. 

When the keeper entered the tent, the dy- 
ing woman fixed her great restless eyes upon 
him, and looked questioningly at Kirsty. The 
old woman stooped down, and said, " It's Alas- 
ter Dingwall him, ye ken, that was Ken- 
neth's" friend, she was going to say ; and 
then she glanced sadly at the keeper, and did 
not finish her sentence. But presently she ad- 
ded, u Eh ! but He's been good and forgien us 
muckle, and we maun be willin' to forgie," and 
taking the thin, white fingers, she laid them in 
the keeper's broad, brown palm. 

" Yes, yes," gasped the woman ; " I remem- 
ber the name. My husband said something 
about him when he was dying, too ; but I can't 
recollect now." Her memories of the troubled 
past were growing dim in the haze of death. 

" My boy, where is he ? " she asked, pres- 
ently, turning to Kirsty. " I've brought him 
to you you'll love him for your own Ken- 
neth's sake, won't you ? He's a good boy ; it's 


hard to leave him in this wicked world alone ; 
but you will look to him, won't you 't " and she 
looked beseechingly at Kirsty. " We've trav- 
elled many a weary mile to reach you he'll 
tell you all about it after. But it's all over 
now all past, and the rest is coming," she 
murmured, and then she lay quite still for 
a few minutes, and her lips moved as if in 

Presently she seemed to remember some- 
thing, and, putting her hand into her breast, 
she drew out a little bag with one or two gold 
pieces in it. Handing it to Kirsty, she said, 
" It's all there is left he's very ragged I'm 
afraid, and I'll be to bury. But you are good 
and kind, he always said, and you'll be kind to 
my boy, for Christ's sake, and for your own 
Kenneth's, grandmother, won't you ? I haven't 
remembered all his messages, I'm so tired to- 
night. He wanted your forgiveness so much 
but you'll see him again we'll both be wait- 
ing you and Kenny ! " 

" Eh ! my bairn ; but ye mauna forget that 
a sicht o' Christ's ain face will be better than 
a' the lave," said the old woman earnestly, as 
she wiped the cold damps of death from the 
white forehead. 

" It's so cold, and gets so very dark," she 

190 MORAG. 

moaned restlessly. "There was a candle left 
in the basket, I think; why doesn't Kenny 
light it \ Where is he ? why does he go 
away ? " 

The candle was already burning near its 
socket, and Kirsty saw that the haze of death 
was fast dimming the eyes that would see no 
more till they awoke in that city " where they 
need no candle, neither light of the sun, for 
the glory of God doth lighten it; and there 
shall be no night there." 

The old woman went to call Kenneth, who 
was still leaning silently against the fir-tree. 
" Come ben to yer mither, my laddie ! Ye 
winna hae lang to bide wi' her noo, I'm think- 
in'." And the boy came and knelt beside his 
mother. The keeper had been standing with 
folded arms, looking silently on, but now he 
crept away, and sitting down in a corner of the 
tent, he covered his face with his hands. The 
sins of his youth came crowding to his mem- 
ory ; one dark spot stood out in terrible relief, 
and made him cower with- shame and remorse 
in the presence of this boy, and his mother on 
her lowly dying bed. 

Meanwhile, Kirsty went out to look for 
Morag, whom she had not forgotten. Seeing 
her seated on the old dyke, she beckoned to 


her, saying, " Come awa, dawtie, dinna bide 
there yer lane ! Puir thing, she winna be lang 
here, noo. It's a sair sicht for a young hert, 
but come ben, Morag. 'Deed they're best aff 
that's nearest their journey's end," murmured 
the old woman, as she stepped under the tar- 
tan folds a^ain. 


Morag followed, and stood gazing, sorrow- 
fully at the dying woman. She had been lying 
quietly for several minutes, but presently she 
looked wildly round, and, stretching out her 
arms, she cried, " Kenny, Kenny, lift me up ! " 

Kirsty stepped forward, and raised the 
weary head on her arm, saying, in her low, 
firm tones, " Dinna be feert, my bairn. The 
valley is dark eneuch, but ' there's licht on the 
tither side. Jist ye hand His han' siccar, and 
ye'll see His face gin lang." For a few mo- 
ments sho lay peacefully, with her hand rest- 
ing on Kirsty's breast, but presently a great 
spasm of agony crossed the wasted face, some 
lingering breaths were drawn, and the poor, 
quivering frame lay at rest. 

Neither of the children knew that it was 
death. After a long silence Kenneth rose from 
his knees, and whispered to Kirsty " She's 
gone to sleep ; we must not wake her for a 
while it's so long since she slept before." 

192 MORAG. 

" Ay, ay, my laddie," replied Kirsty, shak- 
ing her head, mournfully ; " she's gane to sleep, 
til her lang, lang sleep. Nae soun' o' ours will 
waken her noo ; it will be His ain blessed voice 
i' the Day that's cotnin'." 

Poor Kenneth understood now. With a 
low cry of agony, he knelt beside the body, 
which Kirsty had laid tenderly on its lowly bed 
among the brown fir-needles again. And as 
she did so, Morag caught a glimpse of the wee 
leddy's missing jacket ; she understood now 
why she was so vehemently unwilling that it 
should be searched for. 

The keeper had been a silent spectator of 
the sad scene. At last he turned to Kirsty, 
and brushing a tear from his eye, he said, in 
a husky voice " Kirsty, woman, I've whiles 
afore rued yon dark nicht's work sore eneuch, 
and all that came o 't, but I niver rued it sae 
muckle as I do the nicht." 

" Dinna say nae mair, Alaster Dingwall," 
replied Kirsty, holding out her hand. " I'll no 
say that it wasna sair upo' me for mony a day, 
but I see it a' the nicht. Ye were jist the in- 
strument in His hands for sendin' the puir 
prodigal safe hame til the Father's hoose. 
Will you no come intilt yersel', man? The far 
countrie o' sin is an unca lonesome place, Alas- 


ter Dingwall," and Kirsty laid her hand on his 
arm, and looked earnestly into his face. 

" It's no easy wark for an auld sinner like 
me, Kirsty ; but, I'll try," Dingwall replied, as 
he glanced kindly and pityingly at the orphan 
boy, and lifted him from his dead mother's side. 

" Noo, keeper, ye and Morag manna bide a 
minute longer. The puir lassie maun be deid 
tired," said Kirsty, rousing herself to think 
what must be done -next. " I'se watch aside 
the corp ; and maybe, when the morn's come, 
ye'll hae the kindness to speir gin the wricht i' 
the village will come ootby here, and we'll lay 
her in her lang hame, and the puir laddie will 
come hame and bide wi' me." 

The keeper would not hear of leaving her, 
and Morag seated herself on the dyke, saying 
quietly, " I canna be goin' home and leavin' 
Kirsty, father." 

The poor boy seemed so faint from grief 
and fasting, that Dingwall at last decided to 
take him away from the sorrowful scene, and 
to leave Morag, who determinately clung to 
her old friend. 

Kenneth stood gazing mournfully at the 
silent form, murmuring, "Mother, mother!" 
in a low monotone of agony. He would not 
be persuaded to quit the spot till Kirsty un- 

194 MORAG. 

fastened the tartan plaid from the stakes, and 
laying it reverently on the body, she covered 
the dead face out of sight. And as she un- 
wound the plaid from its fastenings, she re- 
membered with a sharp pang of sorrow the 
morning on which she had last seen that old 
plaid. "While the keeper and Kenneth are wan- 
dering through the fir-wood on their way to 
the shieling among the crags, and the old 
woman, with Morag by her side, keeps her 
strange, lonely watch beside the dead,' we 
shall explain why it was so terrible for the 
keeper to remember, and so difficult for Kirsty 
to forget, the events of a certain night long 
years ago, which had driven the older Kenneth 
from the Glen an outlawed man, and left his 
mother a desolate, childless woman. 

Kirsty's husband had been the village 
smith. He was a much-liked and respected 
inhabitant of the little hamlet. He was sud- 
denly cut off by fever at a comparatively early 
age, leaving his wife one son, who was hence- 
forth to be her sole earthly hope' and care. 
The smith had been a sober and diligent man, 
and Kirsty was a frugal housewife, so a little 
money was saved, and the widow had been 
able to move to the pretty cottage in the Glen, 
which had been her home ever since. 


Kirsty had one earthly ambition, and one 
which she shared in common with many a 
Scotch peasant namely, that her son should 
become a scholar. This desire seemed, how- 
ever, to meet with no response from the boy 
himself. He hated books, and loved, above 
all things, to roam about the Glen, finding 
his pleasure there, frequently, when he should 
have been at school in the village. Thither 
every quarter-day his mother duly went, full 
of anxiety to hear about his progress, and 
with the school fees wrapt in a corner of 
her pocket-handkerchief, while a small offering 
for the schoolmaster's wife, from the garden 
or t^rn-yard, was never forgotten. But she 
alwa^ returned from these visits crestfallen 
and graved. " He does not take to his books, 
Mrs. JMfkcpherson ; I fear we'll never be able 
to mak a scholar of him," the parish school- 
master would say, shaking his head, and add- 
ing, as he noticed the mother's disappointed 
face, " He's a fine, manly, truthful boy, though ; 
you'll find he will be good for something 

But Kirsty was not satisfied, and went on 
praying that God would give her son a hear- 
ing ear and an understanding heart in things 
intellectual and spiritual. And so the years of 

196 MORAG. 

boyhood passed, and Kenneth grew np a great 
anxiety to his widowed mother. Sometimes 
he would leave home for whole nights and 
days of rambling among the hills with other 
lads. He was an immense favorite among his 
companions, and their chosen leader in every 
wild exploit. Bold and frank and fearless he 
certainly was, and possessed much of seeming 
unselfishness, but it was a quality of a very 
different kind from that which his mother 
practised at home. Nobody could wile so 
many trouts from the river as Kenneth ; and 
nobody so generously shared his basketful 
among his comrades. He knew every foot of 
the Glen by heart, every lonely pass, each 
deceptive bog. He had set his heart on being 
a gamekeeper, but his mother looked upon it 
as an idle trade, and always hoped that he 
might yet show some leaning towards another 

Alaster Dingwall was many years older than 
Kenneth, though a great friendship sprang up 
between the two. Dingwall had been under- 
gamekeeper at some distance from the Glen, 
but he had lost his situation, and returned to 
lounge about the village, on the outlook for 
work. He admired the bold, reckless young 
Kenneth, and the boy was greatly attracted by 


his older companion, and felt flattered by his 
appreciation. Kirsty noticed that the compan- 
ionship only served to foster Kenneth's idle 
habits, and she did all she could to discourage 
it, but in vain. 

One Sunday evening Kenneth had been 
induced to stay quietly indoors, and sat read- 
ing to his mother, who was feeling intensely 
happy in having him with her. But presently 
she heard a whistle outside, which she had 
learned to know and dread, for she knew that 
it was a summons for her boy to join his idle 

" That's Dingwall's whustle ; I ken it fine. 
Dinna gang out til him, Kenny bide wi' me 
the nicht, my laddie. He'll no want ye for 
ony guid." 

But the warning, " My son, if sinners entice 
thee, consent thou not," fell unheeded on the 
foolish Kenneth's ear, and a sorrowful reaping- 
time for all after-life was the result of this brief 
sowing-time of folly. 

"It's only for a bit o' a walk, mother. 
There's no ill," pleaded Kenneth, as he hur- 
riedly shut the book ; and taking his bonnet, 
he prepared to go out. "I'll no be long, 
mother," he added, as he went out whistling, 
and Kirsty could hear through the clear frosty 

198 MO RAG. 

air his merry laugh re-echoing among his 
companions, and stood listening to it at the 
door of the cottage till the sound died away in 
the distance. Then the mother went back to 
the empty room, and prayed for her son till 
the grey morning broke, and still he did not 

At last she crept away to bed, and in the 
morning she was awakened from her troubled 
slumbers by a loud knocking. On opening 
the door, she saw Kenneth standing, pale and 
haggard, with blood-besmeared clothes, be- 
tween two strange men. One of them step- 
ped forward, and said to the bewildered Kirs- 


" Sorry for it, missus ; but this chap must 
go with me. Found a snare set in the larch 
plantation yonder all but caught him at it, in 
fact. It's not the first offence, I'm thinking. 
There's been a deal of poaching lately in the 
neighborhood ; but we've caught the thief at 

"Mother, I didna do it ! I never set the 
snare! I didna even ken that it was amang 
the grass ! " gasped Kenneth, looking plead- 
ingly at his mother, as if he cared more that 
she should not think him guilty of the deed 
than for the serious consequences which seemed 


to threaten him, whether he was guilty or not. 
And his mother looked into his eyes and knew 
that he was innocent, as indeed he was. He 
had been simply used as a tool by his false 

Since he had been out of employment, 
Dingwall had gained his livelihood by poach- 
ing. But, having reason to suspect at last 
that he was being watched, he resolved to shift 
the suspicions on Kenneth by enlisting him 
in the service, and offering him a share of the 
gains. He thought, too, that if the offence 
were discovered, it was more likely to be 
lightly treated if the offender were a mere 
boy, like Kenneth, so he resolved on that even- 
ing to divulge the plan to his boy-friend, who, 
as yet, was entirely ignorant of the way in 
which Dingwall gained a livelihood, and little 
guessed on what mission he was being led into 
the larch plantation. 

Kenneth had seated himself on the lichen- 
spotted dyke to smoke, while the more cau- 
tious, because guilty, Dingwall stood darkly 
by, having slipped his pipe into his pocket long 
before they reached the wood. He was pon- 
dering how he should best confide his secret 
to Kenneth, and was about to propose that he 
would show him the snare which he had set, 

200 MORAG. 

when his keen eye detected traces of danger 
and discovery. He immediately crept away 
in base silence to hide himself, and presently 
his innocent boy-friend was seized by the em- 
issaries of the law. Then Kenneth understood 
that he had been betrayed ; but he would not 
betray in return. He simply asserted that he 
had not set the snare, and knew nothing what- 
ever about it. 

' Come, come, now ; that's all very fine 
didn't do it, forsooth. Strange place for a 
walk on a winter night the larch plantation," 
said the man, smiling sneeringly to his com- 
panion, as he listened to Kenneth assuring his 
mother that he was innocent, while they stood 
at the cottage door. 

" Come along with us. In the meantime," 
he continued, as he laid his hand on Kenneth's 
arm to drag him away, " if you're able to prove 
that you didn't do it, all the better for you, my 
boy, I can tell you." 

Kenneth turned with a look of anguish to 
his mother, who stood gazing at him with a face 
of marble. She asked no questions ; it was no 
time for reproaches then, and, somehow, Ken- 
neth felt that she understood how it had all 
happened, she looked so pitiful and so loving. 
When she saw that the men were really going 


to take him away, she went and prepared him 
some breakfast ; but Kenneth said he could not 
eat, and turning to the men, volunteered to 
accompany them at once. He looked cold and 
faint in that chilly November morning: and 
just as he was starting, his mother brought his 
father's plaid, and wrapped it tenderly round 
him, but she did not utter a word. 

" Come now, there must be no more coddling 
of this bird, old lady ! Time's valuable, and 
there isn't a minute to spare ! " said the man 
roughly, as he led the boy away. 

When Kenneth had got beyond the garden 
gate, and was being hurried along the highway 
by his jailer, he turned and looked with unut- 
terable agony and remorse toward his mother, 
who stood, stricken and desolate, at the door of 
his home, which was to be blighted during so 
many years for his sake. 

A few weeks afterwards he was tried, arid 
sentenced to a short term of imprisonment. He 
had pleaded not guilty ; but could not explain 
how he came to be in the larch plantation at 
such an hour, and declined to give any informa- 
tion concerning the real offender. 

Kirsty knew him to be none other than 
Alaster Dingwall. In her anguish she went to 
him, and implored that he would not sacrifice 

202 MO RAG. 

the innocent, speaking burning words from the 
depths of her broken mother's heart ; but she 
only met with the sneering rejoinder that she 
would find some difficulty in proving that he 
had anything to do with the matter. 

And then the news came that the wretched 
boy had escaped from prison ; and from that day 
forward Kirsty heard nothing of her son. Sev- 
enteen long years she sat at her lonely fireside, 
waiting, and hoping, and praying ! For a long 
time she left the door nightly open, in the hope 
that he might at least come and visit her in the 
dark. But he never came ; and long ago Kirs- 
ty's deferred hope had changed itself into a 
prayer, that wherever he might be roaming 
throughout the wide world, they might meet 
in the home of God at last. 

Sometimes, after a long night of prayer for 
her lost son, the mother felt as if she heard a 
voice, saying, " I have seen his ways, and I will 
heal him ; " and she would begin the lonely day 
with lightened heart. And now, at last, she 
had the joy of knowing from the lips of his 
dying wife that the wanderer, who feared to 
come again to the Glen, and had sought refuge 
for his blighted life in distant lands, had, at 
last, been led unto the fold above, and had 
learnt to know the Shepherd's voice, and tc 


follow it in the midst of many earthly trials 
and hard experiences through which he had to 

So this sorrowful night was mingled with 
great joy to Kirsty, as she kept watch in the 
fir-wood. Morag felt sure that she must have 
much to say to her unseen Friend, as she sat 
resting her head on her long thin hand, and 
gazing into the red embers among the stones. 
The little girl crouched silently by her side, 
often glancing at the tartan folds that covered 
the weary sleeper below, and pondering over 
the events of this strange afternoon. 

And as she sat keeping vigil, there came to 
her memory the story of a very sorrowful 
night, of which she had been reading with 
Kirsty only the day before. It was the scene 
in ' the old garden of Gethsemane, where the 
Lord Jesus Christ spent those terrible hours, 
" exceeding sorrowful even unto death." 

It was the first time that Morag had heard 
of it, and the hot tears of pity stole down her 
face as she listened. Kirsty had looked up, 
and said gently, as she laid her hand on her 
head, "Bairn, I dinna wonder though ye greet. 
It was a sair dark nicht i' the history o' the 
warl'. But jist ye read a bittie farther on, 
aboot how they garred Him tak' His ain cross 

204 MO RAG. 

up the brae; the women grat for verra pity, 
and syne He turned HimseP, and spak' til 
them, sayin', 'Daughters o' Jerooslem, weep 
no for me, but for yersels and for yer chil- 
dren.' " And Morag thought that she under- 
stood why Jesus was called the " Lamb of God, 
who taketh away the sin of the world." 

At last the chill grey morning light came 
stealing through the dark green boughs and 
among the tall fir-trees. Presently the lonely 
watch was broken by the arrival of messengers 
from the castle, bringing with them every 
comfort which could be stowed away in a huge 

" 'Deed it's richt mindfu' o' the wee leddy 
o' the castle to sen' sic a hantle o' things," 
said Kirsty, rising slowly to receive the ser- 
vants. " An' I'm thinkin' she left her bonnie 
white coatie yestreen to mak' a safter heid for 
the puir lamb. Ye'll jist tak' it wi ye noo, 
gin it please ye, sirs and a' the ither things, 
forby. We dinna need them here. Tell ye 
the wee leddy that the puir weary craeter she 
Saw lyin' sae low yestreen i' the fir-wood is 
awa this mornin' among the green pasters and 
the still waters o' the Father's hoose, where 
there's nae mair hunger, nor sorrow, nor cryin', 
for the auld things hae passed awa." 


T was nearly the end of September now , 
the air of Glen Eagle began to feel 
chilly, and the purple bloom was fading 
from the hills, but the interior of Kirs- 
ty's cottage looked as warm and bright as ever, 
when one afternoon Blanche Clifford came 
bounding in with glowing cheeks, after a race 
across the heather, followed by Morag, to pay 
a visit to their old friend. 

Kenneth had just been piling one or two 
sturdy birk logs on the peat- tire, in preparation 
for their arrival. His grandmother's cottage 
was his home now ; the cheery fire which he 
had jusl; made was quite a fitting emblem of 
the brightness which he had brought into the 
lonely dwelling. His mother had been laid in 
the quiet grave-yard on the hillside, and the 
boy often stole out in the gloaming to hover 
round the fresh -laid turf. He seldom, however, 
spoke of the past, and already began to lose his 

206 MORAG. 

careworn expression, which had so touched the 
hearts of the little girls in the fir-wood. In- 
deed he appeared daily to gain strength and 
manliness; while Kirsty watched the change 
with mingled feelings, remembering a Kenneth 
of other days, whose strength had once been 
her pride. 

" How nice and cosy you do always look 
here ! " exclaimed Blanche, glancing round the 
room, as she seated herself on Thrummy at 
Kirsty 's feet. "When I'm an old woman, I 
mean to have a room exactly like this. I 
couldn't endure to live in a house with so 
many rooms as papa's, or as Aunt Matilda's. 
One never knows in which room they may be 
sitting, and can never picture them to one's 
self if you are away, and want to think of 
them. Now, Kirsty, when I go back to Lon- 
don, I shall always be able to think of you just 
as you are now," said the little girl, as she laid 
her hands on the lap of her old peasant friend. 
Kirsty was seated in the ingleneuk in her high- 
elbowed chair, knitting placidly. Her fingers 
moved rapidly round the rough blue stocking 
which she had in progress, but her eyes rested 
kindly on Blanche, and she smiled as she lis- 
tened to her pleasant prattle. She, too, as well 
as Morag, had learnt to love this little English 


maiden, with her pretty, gracious ways, who 
had made herself so happy in the Highland 
glen, and showed such warm friendship for 
them all. Since the weather became colder, 
the scene of the reading lessons had been trans- 
ferred from the fir-wood to the ben end of the 
cottage, and the old woman was always an in- 
terested listener, often unravelling knotty points 
by her shrewd remarks and wise decisions. 

Sometimes, too, Blanche would entertain 
her Highland friends with descriptions of the 
world beyond the mountains, and expatiate on 
the many marvels of the great city she lived 
in. Morag's eye would dilate with wonder 
and awe as she described the grand old Ab- 
bey, filled with the dust of kings and states- 
men, soldiers and poets, or dwelt on the varied 
delights of a day at the Crystal Palace or the 
Kensington Museum. 

After Morag's fingers had laboriously trav- 
elled over a few pages of the " Pilgrim's Pro- 
gress,'' she begged that Blanche would read a 
little. The little mountain maiden's reading 
capacities did not at all keep pace with her de- 
sire to know ; and now she sat, coiled up at 
Kirsty's feet, listening with eager interest, as 
the wee leddy's clear voice flowed pathetically 
on, concerning the cruel treatment which the 

208 MORAG. 

Pilgrims received from the people of Vanity 

" Vanity Fair ! how funny !" exclaimed 
Blanche, .as she tossed back her curls and 
looked up. "Do you know, Kirsty, there is 
a place in London, called Hyde Park, where 
I sometimes go to drive and ride with papa, 
though not nearly so often as I should like. 
"Well, Kirsty, I remember one afternoon when 
we were there, papa met an old, very old gen- 
tleman rather queer looking whom he hadn't 
seen for ever so long. He held out his hand to 
papa, and I remember he said, ' Well, Arthur, 
} 7 ou didn't expect to meet me in Vanity Fair, 
I daresay ? ' and then he laughed ; and I wanted 
to ask papa afterwards what he meant, but I 
suppose I forgot. But, Kirsty, it surely can't 
be the same place where they were so unkind 
to the poor pilgrims, and called them names, 
could it?" 

" 'Deed, bairn, but I'm nae sae sure o' that 
noo. The Apostle Paul says that the carnal 
hert is enmity agin' God. And .dinna ye min' 
how the Maister says Himsel', ' Marvel not 
though the war? hate ye. Ye know that it 
hated me afore it hated you.' But forbid that 
I should say He hasna a remnant o' His ain in- 
tilt, bairn," said Kirsty, as she noticed Blanche's 


troubled face. " It's His ain prayer til His 
Father, ye ken, no to tak' them oot o' the 
warl', but to keep them frae the evil,'' she ad- 
ded solemnly. 

" Oh ! but indeed, Kirsty, I am sure that 
none of the people in the Park could possibly 
be cruel to the poor pilgrims," replied Blanche, 
rather on the defensive. " There are such 
pretty ladies and gentlemen, riding and driving 
about ; I'm sure they wouldn't hurt anybody. 
I like so much to go to the Park ! and papa 
says, when I'm grown up and have quite fin- 
ished lessons, that I may go there to ride or 
drive every day, if I like. I'm sure I wish the 
time were come ! '' and the prospect seemed so 
inspiring that Blanche jumped up, upsetting 
Thrummy in her progress round the earthen 
floor in a gleeful waltz. 

Morag's eyes followed her bonnie wee led- 
dy wistfully. Somehow her heart sank at the 
vista which seemed to stretch out, so fair and 
pleasant, in Blanche's eyes. They were play- 
fellows now, but how would it be in these days 
to come, when her little friend merged into one 
of these grand ladies whom she had been de- 
scribing ? 

Presently Blanche picked up her stool, and 
came to seat herself at Kirsty's feet again. 

210 MORAG. 

" Eh, my bonny lambie ! '' murmured the 
old woman, as she stroked the little girl's 
golden crown. " May the Guid Shepherd 
Himsel' gather ye in His ain arms, and carry 
ye intil His bosom a' thro' the slippy places, 
and keep ye a bonnie white lambie, til he tak's 
ye safe hame til the fauld ! " 

Morag did not say ''Amen" audibly, for 
she had not yet learnt that conventional ending 
to a petition. But none the less did she join 
Kirsty in fervent asking, that the Lord Jesus 
Christ would preserve their bonnie wee leddy 
amid all the dangers of this terrible Yanity Fair, 
which had proved so full of perils for the pil- 
grims in the story. 

A shade of seriousness stole across Blanche's 
face as Kirsty's long thin fingers played among 
her hair, while she uttered this blessing-prayer ; 
but the shadow did not linger long there. 
The little girl had never thought of life as 
being difficult and dangerous, and did not 
feel the need of a friend and guide. More- 
over, she did not like anything that made her 
feel serious, so she quickly closed the book, 
and, restoring it to its place on the shelf, ran 
away to the cottage door, warbling a gay 
song, as she plucked some berries from one 
of the old rowan trees to make a wreath for 
Morag, and crown her queen of gypsies. 


Presently the old woman came and seated 
herself on the door-step. Her knitting was 
in her hand, but it lay idly on her lap, and 
she sat watching the little girl with tear- 
dimmed eyes. She trembled for the many 
snares and dangers which the days to come 
would be sure to bring to the beautiful high- 
born child. But Kirsty forgot that there were 
shorter, safer, smoother paths to the golden 
city than through the many windings of 
Vanity Fair. 

"I have just been to old Neil's, grand- 
mother," said Kenneth, as he walked in at 
the little gate on his return from a message 
to the carrier of the Glen. " He says he'll be 
happy to oblige you with the cart on Sunday 
for the kirk. He'll not be able to go himself, 
because of his rheumatism ; but he is to lend 
the cart if I'll yoke the horse." 

" I'm richt glaid to hear't, laddie," replied 
Kirsty. "It's mony a Sawbbath day sin' I 
ha' been i' the kirk. 'Deed I thocht never 
to sit at His table upon the earth anither 

" Morag, hae ye speird gin yer father be 
gaein' to lat ye gang wi' me til the kirk ? " 

"Ay, Kirsty, I've been askin' him, but 
he hasna said yet. I'm no thinkin' he'll 

212 MO RAG. 

do't, though. But he said he would see yer- 
sel' afore that time. Maybe he'll be up the 

" Oh, Kirsty, are you really going to that 
pretty little church in the village on Sunday? 
Do let me go with you ; I want so to see the 
inside of it," chimed in Blanche, eagerly. 
" It will be so much nicer than reading pray- 
ers with Miss Prosser in that dreadful school- 

" Weel, I'se be richt glaid to tak' ye wi' 
me, bairn, gin yer folk doesna objec' ; but I'm 
no thinkin' they would lat ye gang ava. It's 
a lang road, and, ye see, we'll jist hae Neil's 
cartie, wi' a puckle strae intilt, and that'll 
maybe no be fit for the like o' you." 

" Oh, yes, of course it would perfectly 
delicious," cried Blanche, clapping her hands. 
" I must really go with you, Kirsty. I shall 
ask papa to-night, if I have a chance ; it would 
be such fun, wouldn't it, Morag ? " 

" Sawbbath '11 be a gran' day. It's the Sac- 
rament wi' us, ye ken," said Kirsty looking 
up from her knitting. "But I'm thinkin' it 
wad be ower langsome like for you bairns, 
though I'se houp there's a day comin' when 
ye'll be sittin' doon til the table yersels, and 
meetin' wi' Himsel' there," continued the 


old woman, as she gazed kindly at the little 

" Oh, is it really the Holy Communion ; and 
may we children stay ? I should like above all 
things to see it ; shouldn't you, Morag ? Miss 
Prosser always sends me home with Ellis when 
she stays to Communion. But then it doesn't 
last very long at all. For by the time that I've 
spoken to Chance and my birds, she has always 
come home again. But, perhaps, it is some- 
thing quite different here, is it not, Kirsty ? " 

""Weel, I'm thinkin' there will be some 
differ from what I hae heerd tell. But eh, 
bairn, I mak' nae doobt that He feeds His ain 
folk the richt gait, in ilka part o' His warl'." 

" Here's yer father comin' inby, Morag ! '' 
said Kirsty, as she rose to welcome the keeper, 
whom she saw leaning against the garden gate, 
looking at the group round the cottage door. 

The keeper had become a frequent visitor 
at Kirsty's cottage since that eventful evening 
in the fir-wood. Often, when the work of the 
day was done, he might be seen wandering 
across the moor in the gloaming, in the direc- 
of the abode which he had viewed for so many 
years with mingled feelings of dislike and fear. 

Many a pleasant talk the old woman and 
he seemed to have together, and the keeper 

214 MO RAG. 

appeared more at ease and happy in Kirsty's 
society than he had been with hy mortal for 
many a day. His face already began to lose 
the sinister expression which had made Blanche 
distrust him on that first day when she saw 
him. He did not say the bitter things which 
he used to do about his neighbors in the Glen, 
and no longer prided himself in looking dark 
and mysterious and self-contained, but seemed 
more happy with himself, and, consequently, 
with the rest of the world. 

Morag felt, with a daily, hourly) silent glad- 
ness, that a change for the better had come to 
her father. To her he had never been posi- 
tively unkind, but now he was more gentle and 
genial than she had ever known him. Already 
the little shieling among the crags began to 
show traces of the brighter days which were 
dawning. The evenings were no longer dreary 
and monotonous as they used to be. For the 
company of books had been summoned from 
the old kist, where they had been buried so 
long, and they proved very pleasant companions 
to both father and daughter. Dingwall would 
occasionally read aloud to Morag as she worked ; 
and thus finally proved that his former dislike 
to reading had not arisen from an ignorance of 
the art, as Morag had sometimes suspected. 


Occasionally, a bundle of old newspapers 
from the castle found their way to the hut, and 
were eagerly scanned by the keeper as he 
smoked his pipe ; and his remarks to his little 
daughter showed her that he knew more about 
the world beyond the mountains than she ever 

And now he seemed to notice favorably 
Morag's efforts after domestic reform, which 
he had sneered at, or completely ignored be- 
fore. He commended her on her attempts to 
improve the interior of the hut, and occasion- 
ally teased her laughingly about her imitation 
of Kirsty's domestic arrangements, which was 
everywhere visible. 

It seemed suddenly to occur to him that 
since the laird would not have the hut mended, 
he possibly might make some effort towards 
its restoration himself, and he began to make 
plans for the repairing of the porous roof, after 
the shooting party should have taken their de- 

Morag could date this happy change in her 
life from that eventful evening in the fir-wood, 
and she often thought that, whatever the old 
quarrel had been, the healing of it had proved 
a very blessed thing for all of them. 

Sometimes Morag overheard Kirsty talking 

216 MO RAG. 

to her father in low, earnest tones, as he stood 
beside her, listening quietly, and more than 
once she caught the name of Kirsty's Lord and 
Master mingling with their talk ; and then the 
little girl's heart was filled with gladness. She 
never yet had the courage to tell her father 
about that new Life which she had been find- 
ing during these autumn days ; but she often 
longed to do so, and wag only prevented by 
her extreme shyness and reserve. She felt 
very anxious that her father should come to 
know and love that unseen, but real Friend, 
who had been the light of Kirsty's lonely 
home for so many years, and whom she was 
now learning to know and love. 

Occasionally, when her father and Kirsty 
were engaged in these conversations, Morag 
would start with Kenneth on an expedition to 
some of their moorland haunts, to introduce 
them to the stranger lad. They often wan- 
dered into the little graveyard on the hillside, 
and stood silently beside the fresh-laid turf, 
while Morag tried to recall the face of the 
quiet sleeper below ; and Kenneth's thoughts 
went slipping back to the time when he played 
at his mother's knee, a merry little boy. 

It was rather a grief of mind to Kirsty 
that she never could induce her grandson to 


talk of the past, nor to give any chronicle of 
his former life, which she fain would have 
heard; but she was both wise and kind, and 
did not seek to elicit confidences which were 
not freely bestowed, hoping that the time 
would come when they might be voluntarily 

But, sometimes, on the way home from 
these visits to the little graveyard, Kenneth 
would talk to the quiet Morag as he never had 
done to Kirsty. And as he told of his past 
chequered life, the eyes of the little maiden 
were filled with wonder and pity at the strange 
experiences through which her boy-friend had 
passed in the world beyond the mountains. 

Kenneth was daily gaining in vigor and 
manliness. The bracing mountain air seemed 
to put new life and strength into him ; and in 
Kirsty 's comfortable dwelling he had parted 
with those wearing anxieties which had so 
long darkened his young life, though with a 
darkening that had not been evil. 

Kirsty was very anxious that her grandson 
should at once choose a trade and begin to 
work. She dreaded idleness for him, above 
all things, and was somewhat dismayed to find 
his love for mountain roamings, and to notice 
his intense enjoyment in a day with the keeper 

218 MORAG. 

at the moors. The boy little knew what pain 
it gave to his grandmother when one day that 
they were talking about his future work in life 
he frankly acknowledged that he should like 
nothing half so well as to be a gamekeeper like 

But seventeen years of growing trust in the 
wise love and gracious leading of her Heavenly 
Father enabled her to commit the boy to His 
care, and to bid him go and prosper in the 
path of life which he had chosen. 



AYE you heard your pupil's latest re- 
quest, Miss Prosser ? " asked Mr. Clif- 
ford, laughingly, as he turned from 
Blanche, who had been pleading her 
suit in low, coaxing tones. " She actually 
wants to go to the kirk in the village for some 
high festival occasion next Sunday and in 
company with that wonderful Kirsty, too, 
whom we hear so much about just now. She 
refuses with disdain my kind offer of the car- 
riage for herself and party wants to go in a 
wheel-barrow, or something of that description 
is it not, Blanche? " 

" Oh no, papa ! how can you think such 
absurd things? We are going in Neil's cart, 
of course. It will be such fun! Kirsty says 
there will be lots of straw for seats, and Ken- 
neth is to drive. You know you have more 
than half promised to let me go, papa," added 
Blanche, beseechingly clinging to her father in 
the hope of an immediate decision in her favor, 

20 MO RAG. 

for her governess had raised her voice in strong 
disapproval of such an irregular proceeding. 

Mr. Clifford had noticed with pleasure how 
much his little daughter seemed to be enjoying 
these autumn days in the Highlands, which he 
feared might prove duller than she expected. 
It was evident, too, that her enjoyment of them 
consisted chiefly in the companionship she had 
made with those peasant friends in the Glen. 

Blanche's glowing description of Kirsty, 
and her repetition of several of the old wom- 
an's shrewd sayings, gave Mr. Clifford a favor- 
able impression of Kirsty. And for the lit- 
tle Morag he had always entertained a special 
liking since the stormy day on which he had 
found her, all alone, at work on the soaking 
earthen floor of the hut, and he congratulated 
himself on having secured her as an appendage 
to the little Shetlander. He frequently assured 
the doubting Miss Prosser that the child would 
get no harm from her intercourse with these 
dwellers in the Glen ; and, in the present in- 
stance, he did not object that she should see a 
new phase of life, in company with her Highland 

Before Blanche went to bed, she had gained 
her father's consent to the Sunday project. She 
lay awake for a long time, thinking how very 


delightful it would be to go to church with 
Kirsty and Morag and in a cart, too ; and to 
be obliged to stay so long away that she should 
not be at home either for early dinner or after- 
noon lessons with her governess, so that the 
latter would have to be dispensed with alto- 
gether. Blanche thought it would be the most 
delightfully out-of-the-way Sunday which she 
had ever known ; and she fell asleep at last, 
to dream that she and Morag, with Kirsty and 
Kenneth, had come rumbling in Neil's cart into 
Westminster Abbey while service was going on. 

Morag, too, on that same evening, after a 
more brief and tremulous suit than her wee led- 
dy's, had gained her father's permission to go to 
the kirk, for the first time in her life. 

To the little English girl the prospect was 
merely a pleasant ploy ; but to Morag Dingwall 
it was the fulfilling of a dream of years. How 
often she had watched, and how much she had 
longed to join, the little straggling companies 
wending their way along the white hilly roads 
from all parts of the Glen to meet in that lit- 
tle kirk in the village, which she had never seen 
but closed and silent. Kirsty often told her 
that the Lord Jesus Christ loved to have His 
people gather to worship Him. Only a few 
days ago she had been reading to the little girl 

222 MORAG. 

the story of how He had once come, after He 
rose from the dead, into the midst of a little 
company which had met to worship, and of 
how He had stretched forth His hands, saying, 
" Peace be unto you.'' 

Morag had remarked, in a mournful tone, 
" He never does the like noo, Kirsty ; would ye 
no like to see Him, jist ance ? " 

"An' have I no seen Him?" answered 
Kirsty, triumphantlj r . " 'Deed, bairn, I've 
whiles felt as near 'til Him as gin His fingers 
were wavin' aboun' my heid, wi' the verra 
words i' His mou', an' 'Peace be wi' ye.' I 
aye gaed oot o' His hoose wi' a blither hert 
an' o lichter fit than I gaed tilt." 

The old woman had never been strong 
enough to go to the kirk since Morag's acquain- 
tance with her, and she mourned over it as a 
great privation. Neil's cart was a rare luxury, 
only procurable indeed on Communion Sab- 
baths, which were held once a year in the Glen, 
when the scattered inhabitants came from its 
remotest parts, many of them across miles of 
pathless hills, to share in the services of the 

Never did Jewish peasant go up to the 
Holy City on the great day of the Feast with 
more joy and hope than did Kirsty Macpherson 


' I 

to the yearly communion at the village kirk. 
And, to the present occasion, she looked for- 
ward with special gladness; for had she not 
to give thanks for a dear one whom she knew, 
at last, to be safe in the home of God the 
homeless wanderer, whose name had often been 
borne by her in agony from that communion- 
table to the ear of Him who came to seek and 
save the lost ? 

Morag was waiting in the castle court-yard 
on Sunday morning, long before the little chate- 
laine had completed her toilette to her maid's 
satisfaction. At last the door was swung open, 
j,nd the wee leddy came running out to meet 
1 er friend, looking fresh and dainty in her spot- 
less white dress and pretty blue hat, with which 
Ellis had adorned her not without many re- 
grets that such elegant garments should descend 
to such degraded uses as a seat in a cart ; but, 
since she was going to church, her maid con- 
cluded that, of a necessity, she must wear her 
best attire. 

" How bonnie ye look ! " exclaimed Morag, 
gazing at her wee leddy with unfeigned admira- 
tion. " Ye're jist like the sky itsel', a' blue- 
and-white like." 

" So I am ! how funny ! But oh, Morag, 
is not this a glorious morning ? Won't Kirsty 

224 MORAG. 

be pleased ? I really think it's the finest day 
we've had since I came to Glen Eagle. I'm so 
happy," and Blanche danced gleefully on the 
soft turf. " Now, Chance, you needn't be wag- 
ging your tail. You are not to be invited to 
come with us to-day, my dear dog. It's Sun- 
day, you know, and we are going to church 
with Kirsty and Kenneth ; and dogs never do 
go to church you know, Chance." 

" Ay do they, whiles ! " interrupted Morag, 
patting the pleading Chance sympathizingly ; 
" they gang to the kirk ony way. For I've 
often thought I wad jist like to be auld Neil's 
collie, when I've seen him passin' wi' Neil on a 
Sabbath mornin', and I was feelin' terrible lone- 
some at hame. Kirsty says, ' The dogs are 
mony a time quaieter than the bairns at the 
kirk, and that attentive-like.' " But Morag 
agreed that since Chance was not a dog of 
church-going habits, it would be wiser to leave 
him at home. 

Neil's cart already stood on the road at the 
cottage gate when the little girls reached it. 
Kenneth was waiting at the horse's head, and 
Kirsty came forth in all the glory of a spotless 
white mutch (a high cap of muslin, worn by 
the old peasant women of Scotland). She wore 
also a pretty scarlet cloak, which had been her 


best attire for the last fifty years. In her hand 
she held her big, worn Bible, carefully wrapped 
in her ample white pocket-handkerchief, and 
from it there projected some stalks of thyme, 
and mint, and southernwood, as a preventive 
against possible drowsiness, during the long ser- 
vices of the day. 

" Welcome til ye, my bairns," said she, 
greeting the little girls kindly, as she closed the 
little gate behind her. " Havna we gotten a 
bonnie Sawbbath-day ? It's jist an oncommon 
fine mornin' for this time o' the year. May 
the Sun o' Richtyousness arise wi' healin' intil 
His wings the day, lichtin' up a' the dark herts, 
jist as the bonnie sun this mornin' garred the 
drumlie licht weir aff the glen," added Kirsty, 
with a glad light in her calm gray eyes. 

Blanche had already mounted into the cart, 
and was jumping about among the straw, 
greatly to the destruction of Ellis's careful 
morning toilette. 

" O Kenneth ! isn't this so very jolly ? It 
will be such fun going to church like this. I'm 
sure I shall never forget it all my life. I do 
wish papa could see us start. Do you know I 
almost think he wanted to? Doesn't Kirsty 
look beautiful ? I wish she'd always wear that 
red cloak ; don't you, Kenneth ? " 

226 MO RAG 

The old woman came leaning on Morag' s 
shoulder, aad stepped into the cart, followed by 
the little girl. Kenneth cracked the whip with 
an air of business, and the little company 

It was certainly a perfect autumn day, and 
Glen Eagle was looking its loveliest. Kirsty's 
face wore a look of holy peace, as she sat si- 
lently with folded hands, and gazed upon the 
calm, still scene around. " I hae jist been 
minin' o' that glaidsome word o' David's," 
she said presently, turning to Morag, who was 
seated by her side. " ' The Lord is good til a', 
an' His tender mercies are ower a' His warks.' 
I'm thinkin' it maun jist hae been on some 
bonnie quaiet day like this, when he was awa' 
frae the din an' the steer of Jerooslem, 'at he 
thocht on makin' that bonnie psalm." 

Morag had never heard the psalm, but she 
resolved she would try to find it that evening, 
and perhaps her father might help her. She 
said the verse over to herself, and thought 
Kirsty must be right in imagining that the 
poet-king would think his beautiful thoughts 
on such a day as this. 

But Kenneth, who had been listening qui- 
etly, as he walked by the side of the cart, pres- 
ently looked up, and said, " I'm not so sure of 


that, granny. Don't yon think King David 
would just be as likely to say that after a long 
day's lighting at the head of his soldiers, or 
after a busy day in his palace, as among sunny 
green fields when he had nothing to do but 
enjoy himself? Do you no think, granny, that 
folk maybe need to believe in the tender mer- 
cies of the Lord most in the din and the fret 
of big towns, when, besides perhaps being 
lonely, and in want one's self, you see so many 
people still more sad and worse off ? D'ye no 
think, granny, that it would be more comfort 
to think of the tender mercies of the Lord, liv- 
ing in such dreary streets, than in such a bonnie 
glen as this ? " said Kenneth, smiling sadly as 
he remembered how much he and his mother 
had needed, and how often they had found, 
these tender mercies in such places. 

" 'Deed, laddie, I'm thinkin' ye hae the richt 
o't efter a' ; I'm glaid ye thocht o' that," said 
Kirsty, looking down at her grandson with her 
most pleased smile. 

As Morag sat silently listening to the con- 
versation, she thought how good it was that 
these " tender mercies" seemed to be over all, 
among the busy, crowded haunts of men, as 
well as with the lonely dwellers among the 
mountains. And as the cart rumbled slowly 

228 MORAG. 

along the winding road, the little girl repeated 
the verse to herself till she knew it well. 

Many a time in after days that verse came 
back to her memory, sometimes as a prayer, but 
more often a's a thanksgiving. Across the waste 
of years, with graves between and many a sor- 
row, she would look back and remember this 
still Sabbath morning when she went for the 
first time to the little village kirk, and the 
vanished faces that were round her then ; and 
she would sum up the tender mercies of the 

The sound of the old church bell now be- 
gan to be heard across the still moorland. The 
little straggling companies quickened their pace 
at its sound, and the nearer roads began to stir 
with assembling worshippers. 

Blanche looked with eager interest at the 
gathering groups, occasionally asking whisper- 
ed information from Morag concerning them. 
Among them were old bent men and young 
children, who had come many a mile through 
the pathless hills that morning. There w r ere 
shepherds in their plaids and broad bonnets, 
with their collie dogs following, just as Morag 
had said, Blanche noticed ; and she resolved to 
keep an eye on their behavior in church, and 
perhaps give Chance a similar privilege another 


time if her impression of the conduct of the 
collies was favorable. 

The kirk stood in the centre of the village 
green, and when Kirsty and her young party 
came in sight, there were already many grc'iips 
gathered round it. The old minister was thread- 
ing his way among them, and there was many 
a broad bonnet raised and many a curtsy drop- 
ped, as with kindly, gracious, though silent 
greeting he passed into the church. 

The old bell was still pealing, sweet and 
musical, just as it used to do centuries ago in the 
convent chapel down in the hollow, from whence 
it had been taken when the ancient chapel be- 
came a roofless ruin ; and now it called the 
dwellers in the Glen to -the kirk with the same 
soothing chime as it used to summon the nuns 
to matins and vespers, and remind the scattered 
peasants that the hour of prayer had come. 

Suddenly it ceased to chime, and the throng- 
ing groups on the greensward moved quietly 
in at the open doors of the kirk. 

Many eyes were turned on Kirsty and her 
young friends as they passed slowly up the 
aisle. Some recognized the bonnie wee leddy 
of the castle ; and not a few knew the nut- 
brown Morag by sight, and smiled kindly on 
her. The story of the poor woman, who had 

230 MQRAG. 

come to the Glen to die on such a lowly bed, 
was known to many, and they looked with 
interest on Kirsty's grandson. 

The kirk was almost tilled when they 
entered. Two long, narrow tables, covered 
with white, stretched from the pulpit the whole 
length of the church, at which the communi- 
cants were to sit. Before taking her place 
there, Kirsty led the children to seats at the 
side of the church ; and then she moved away 
slowly to take her solitary post at the long 
white table. 

Morag did not venture to raise her eyes for 
some time. The scene was so new and strange 
to her that for a moment she felt something of 
the terror-stricken feeling which possessed her 
on the evening when she was brought before 
the party at the castle. But when, at last, she 
ventured to look up, she caught a glimpse of 
Kirsty's calm, wopshipping face, and she began 
to feel more reassured. Meanwhile, Blanche 
kept gazing about in a vivacious manner, taking 
notes of everything. On the whole, she felt 
much disappointment with the interior of the 
little kirk. It looked so bare and stern, she 
thought, as she searched in vain for the altar, 
or the organ, which she expected to peal forth 
every minute. 


At last the silence was broken, not by the 
organ, but by the grave, deep voice of the min- 
ister, who reared his gray head from the pulpit, 
and began to read a grand old psalm, which the 
congregation joined in singing. Then followed 
a prayer, and all the people rose, the men cover- 
ing their faces with their broad bonnets. 

Morag stood listening with closed eyes and 
moveless posture. Blanche tried very hard to 
do so also, but she could not help opening her 
eyes occasionally to see what the dogs w r ere 
about, and presently she began to wish that 
the prayer was done and they would begin to 
sing again. She occasionally made exploring 
tours with her eyes over the church, and at last 
she caught sight of Kirsty's red cloak and fa- 
miliar face, and by her side she saw a figure 
which she thought she recognized. To facili- 
tate observations, she raised herself on tiptoe ; 
and at last she was satisfied that the stalwart 
form at the long white table, beside Kirsty, 
was none other than the keeper Dingwall. She 
could hardly restrain an exclamation of surprise 
at this discovery. The keeper, she knew, was 
not in the habit of going to church ; and, cer- 
tainly, Morag would have told her if she had 
expected him there to-day. Very impatiently 
did she listen to the concluding petitions, for 

232 MORAG. 

she could not get Morag to open her eyes till 
the prayer was done. At last, while the con- 
gregation were engaged in turning the leaves 
of their Bibles, in search of the chapter about to 
be read, Blanche contrived by a variety of signs 
to make Morag's eyes alight on the spot where 
her father stood. If Blanche's astonishment 
had been great, Morag's was still greater, when 
she caught sight of her father's tall form rearing 
itself beside Kirsty's bent head. This, then, 
was the reason why he had smiled so strangely 
that morning when she laid her hand on his 
arm, and said, with a great eifort to break 
through her reserve, "O father! I would like 
richt weel gin ye were comin' til the kirk wi' 
us. I ken fine the Lord Jesus Christ would 
be glaid to see ye. Kirsty says He's aye weel 
pleased to see folk intil His ain hoose." 

And now he was seated beside Kirsty at 
the communion-table, where, as the old wom- 
an had told Morag, none but those who loved 
the Lord might come. The little girl felt a 
thrill of delight, greater than she ever did in 
her life. She felt sure that her father must 
have begun to know and love the Lord Jesus 
Christ, or he never would have come there. 
So happy and thankful was she, that she could 
not wait till the minister prayed again, but 


said, low in her heart, words of deep thanks- 

There were many besides Blanche who 
noticed with astonishment the tall form of the 
keeper in his unwonted place at the com- 
munion-table ; and many along with Morag 
gave thanks to Him who " turneth men's hearts 
as rivers of water whither He will," and who 
had brought this proud, rebellious spirit to the 
foot of His cross. 

Ding wall had been welcomed to the place 
he occupied to-day by the old minister some 
evenings before in the manse. He disclosed 
the picture of his past life, with its darkest 
shadows unrelieved ; and had told of his late 
repentance. The pastor recognized it as genu- 
ine, and there was a light in his eye to-day as 
he read his Master's message, " This is a faith- 
ful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sin- 
ners. '' 

After the usual service was over, Blanche's 
interest, which had been flagging, began to re- 
vive, and she felt glad that her maid was not in 
attendance to take her home, as she felt curious 
to know what was coming next. 

Presently a hymn was sung to a sad wailing 
tune, which suited the words. It told of that 

234 MO RAG. 

night on which the Son of Man endured the 
" eager rage of every foe ; " and Blanche felt 
a knot rise in her throat as she listened to it 
and tried to join. Never before, she thought, 
had she felt so sorry for the Lord Jesus Christ, 
who was " crucified, dead, and buried," though 
she had heard all about it so many times. 
And then she suddenly remembered Morag's 
anxiety to know all about the " good Lord who 
died on the green hill," and how many ques- 
tions she used to ask about Him during the 
first days of their acquaintance ; but she never 
mentioned the subject now, so Blanche con- 
cluded that she could not care so much as she 
did before. 

The words of the hymn had brought tears 
to Morag's eyes, too. But then she quickly 
remembered the joyful side of the sorrowful 
story, and thought of Him " who liveth, and 
was dead, and is alive for evermore." 

While the hymn was being sung, four old 
men, the elders of the kirk, walked slowly in, 
carrying the plates of bread and cups of wine, 
which they placed reverently on a white-covered 
table, where the minister now sat, and which 
Blanche supposed must be the altar she hal 
been in search of. 

The children watched with mingled cm-i- 


osity and awe while the symbols were passed 
to all who sat at the long white tables, after 
the minister had given thanks and read to the 
congregation the Master's words which He spoke 
in the upper rootn at Jerusalem when He com- 
manded that this Feast should be kept by His 
disciples till He should come again. 

Perfect stillness reigned throughout the 
church ; almost every head was bowed, and 
many a heart went up in silent adoring grati- 
tude to Him who had loved them and given 
Himself for them. 

When the elders had again reverently placed 
the symbols on the table in front of the pulpit, 
the stillness was broken by the deep, grave 
voice of the pastor, speaking words of exhor 
tation to his flock, that they should be " blame- 
less and harmless, the sons of God." A sweet 
psalm of thanksgiving was sung, and then, with 
uplifted hands, the minister prayed that the 
peace of God might rest on the little company ; 
and, at last, the peasants moved away from the 
long white tables to scatter to their distant 
homes in the Glen ; some of them never to 
meet again till they gather to the Feast above. 
The children sat and watched them as they 
passed slowly out of the kirk, and then they, 
too, rose to go. Morag sought her father im- 

236 MORAG. 

mediately. She gazed eagerly into his face, as 
if she expected him to say something ; but he 
only pressed her hand, and turning to Kirsty, 
he said ' Good-bye,' and then walked away. 

"Lat him gang hame his lane, bairn," 
whispered Kirsty, as she noticed Morag's dis- 
appointed look, and her movement to follow, 
when her father started to go home alone. 
"I'm thinkm' he'll hae better company wi' 
him than ony o' us wad mak' Morag, lass." 

And then surveying her little flock, Kirsty 
said, smiling kindly, "Noo, bairns, I'se war- 
rant ye're hun'ry eneuch. Jist ye come doun 
til a quaiet burnside 'at I ken fine, and we'll 
hae a bit o' a rest and ye'll eat a piece I hae 
brocht for ye a'." 

So the old woman led the way to a quiet 
nook behind the village, where the yellowing 
birk- trees drooped round a pleasant bit of 
greensward, hiding it from the dusty highway, 
while the splashings of a little burn, rolling 
merrily among the white stones, kept the turf 
smooth and green all the year through. 

Here Kirsty seated herself, with her merry 
little party round her. From underneath her 
red cloak she then produced a basket contain- 
ing some delicious cream-cakes, which she had 
baked on the previous evening for this occa- 


sion, and of which she now invited the chil- 
dren to partake. 

Never did lunch taste so nice; and never 
was there such a pleasant Sunday, Blanche 
thought, as she sat at Kirsty's feet, eating her 
piece of oat-cake, and talking to her old friend. 

Morag was perched on a stone, with her 
sunburnt feet paddling in the brown water, 
and Kenneth stood watching the fate of twigs, 
meant to personate his friends, which he occa- 
sionally tossed into the water, where presently 
they got among the tiny rapids of the burn, 
some of them being finally entangled there, 
while others were able to extricate themselves 
from their difficulties, and were borne onwards 
to the river. 

Blanche prattled away merrily, as usual, 
upon a variety of topics ; sometimes asking 
questions about the services of the day, and 
comparing notes with the arrangements of the 
church where she went in London. Morag 
listened with wondering eyes as the wee leddy 
glowingly described the beautiful, many-col- 
ored picture-windows, the pretty gilded altar, 
and the great organ, with its surpliced choir. 
The little mountain maiden had looked upon 
the interior of the village kirk as very beauti- 
ful; but this church, described by Blanche, 

238 MORAG. 

must be much more so : and Morag began to 
think that perhaps the Lord Jesus Christ liked 
best to be worshipped in a fine church like 
that, since He was so high and holy. But, 
with the thought, there came a pang of disap- 
pointment, and, whenever she had an opportu- 
nity, she confided her trouble to Kirsty. 

After pondering a little, the old woman 
slowly replied, " "Weel, bairn, I'll no say but 
that the Maister likes a' thing that's bonnie 
and fair to see. A fine bigget hoose o' wor- 
ship, wi' the best wark that the fingers o' 
man can mak', canna be onacceptable til Him. 
But I'm thinkin', efter a', the thing that'll 
please Him maist is to see ilka hert worship- 
pin' Him in speerit and in trowth, nae 
maitter whither it be intil a gran' bigget kirk, 
or amang the bracken upo' the hillside, as 
oor folk ance did, lang syne, Morag, lass." 

"Oh yes, Kirsty, I know. You mean in 
the time of the Covenanters, don't you ? " 
said Blanche as she broke off a branch from 
the bog-myrtle, and threw it into the burn, 
in imitation of Kenneth's amusement. " I 
know all about the Covenanters. By the by, 
I've got a book in London with some rather 
nice stories about them. I wish I had it here, 
Morag; I think you would like it. The sol 


diers certainly were very cruel and rough to 
the people they found making a church among 
the heather. I'm sure I could never see why," 
continued the little English maiden, as she 
went to extricate her twig from among the rap- 
ids with her umbrella ; because that twig was 
Morag she said, and she must give her a little 
poke on. 

"Ay, ay!" said the old woman medita- 
tively. "They were the dark days o' oor 
kirk, but wha kens 'at they warna the bricht- 
est days, efter a', i' the eyes o' Him 'at walks 
amang the seven golden cawnal-sticks we 
read o' i' the Revelations. He aye telt His 
kirk nae to be feared at onything it had to 

" "Weel, Morag, lass ! so ye're thinkin' yet 
ye wad like to worship i' the gran' hoose in 
Lou' on, 'at the wee leddy tells o', better nor 
in oor wee kirkie?" said Kirsty, turning 
smilingly to the crestfallen- little Morag, as 
she divined her thoughts. " D'ye min' far 
the Laist Supper was keepit i' the upper 
room in Jerooslem ? Weel, I'm no thinkin' 
there could hae been onything very braw 
intilt ; and yet the Maister thocht it guid 
eneuch for sic a Feast as the warl' niver saw." 

Blanche did not remember about it, so 

240 MO RAG. 

Kirsty handed her the old Bible, and she read 
St. Luke's account of the Last Supper, finish- 
ing with the words "And when they had 
sung a hymn, they went to the Mount of 

" Why, Kirsty, how funny ! That's just 
something like what we've done to-day. And 
I'm sure the Mount of Olives couldn't be half 
so nice as this burn-side; could it, Morag? 
I shall be sure to remember this Sunday when 
I go to Holy Communion, Kirsty. But that 
will be ever so long yet. I've got to be con- 
firmed first, you know. Miss Prosser says it's 
proper to go to Holy Communion when one 
is about seventeen ; but, oh dear ! it's a long 
time till then. I do wish I were grown up," 
said Blanche, with a sigh over the slow prog- 
ress of Time. 

"Eh, but my dear lambie, ye maun let 
Him intil yer hert lang afore that time comes 
roun'. Will ye no listen til the Guid Shep- 
herd's voice callin' ye the day ? There's a 
hantle o' rough slippy bits o' life afore ye, my 
bonnie bairn, I'm thinkin'. Will ye no lat 
Him tak' ye intil His arms, and carry ye safe 
through them a' ? " said Kirsty, as she looked 
fondly at the little girl. 

Blanche did not reply, but sat nervously 


plucking blades of grass. Presently she jump- 
ed up, and ran to join Kenneth, who had gone 
to catch the old cart-horse grazing by the 
waterside, to yoke him in the cart again, and 
prepare for the homeward journey. 

Then Morag gave Kirsty a shoulder to help 
her from her low seat on the greensward ; and 
as she stooped to pick up the basket, she said 
in a low, eager tone, " Kirsty, werna ye richt 
glad to see father i' the kirk the day ? I 
never thocht he was comin' tilt." 

" Ay was I, glaider than ye can ken' o', 
bairn," replied Kirsty, her gray eyes beaming 
with joy. "'Deed I'm thinkin' there maun 
hae been joy amang the angels themsels, the 
day when they saw yer father sitting at the 
table o' the Lord a bran' plucked frae the 
burnin'. Eh, bairn, ye that's ain o' His ain 
lambs yersel', arna ye glaid to think that yer 
puir father's nae latten bide oot i' the cauld.'' 

Morag's face flushed with joy to hear Kirsty 
call her- a Christian, and she was going to 
make some reply when they heard Blanche's 
clear, silvery tones calling them to come that 
the cart was all ready to start. 

" There's that bonnie wee leddy, wi' her 
sweet tongue," said Kirsty, as she moved to go. 
"Dear lamb! may the Quid Shepherd mak' 

242 MORA G. 

goodness and mercy to follow her a' the days 
o' her life. She's a winsome bit thing as I 
ever set eyes on. I wad like riclit weel to ken 
that she gied her young hert to the Lord, 
Morag. There's a heap o' snares and dangers 
o' the great warl' for the like o' her. They tell 
me she's fat they ca' an heiress, and has heaps 
o' hooses and Ian' in Englan' belongin' til her- 
BeP. It wad be a richt sair maitter gin she 
were like the young man him ye ken that we 
read o' i' the Seripter, wha turned awa frae the 
Lord sorrowfu'-like, because his hert was set 
upon his gran' possessions. She has sic a han- 
tle o' boimie ways aboot her, and as sweet a 
like natur' as ever God made. Ye maun be 
earnest wi' the Lord for yer wee leddy, Morag, 
my lass." 

This was a subject about which Morag 
longed greatly to talk to Kirsty, though she 
had never yet been able to break through her 
shyness and reserve. She looked up eagerly in 
the old woman's *f ace, and was about to reply, 
when Blanche pushed aside the fringing birk- 
trees in search of them, and they left the quiet 
green nook, and turned into the dusty high- 

Many a time in after years, when these au- 
tumn days lay far away in the dim haze of dis- 


tance, Morag Dingwall would leave the beaten 
path, if she chanced to pass that way, and wan- 
der in among the whispering birk-trees and the 
scented bog-myrtle, to stand and gaze at this 
little spot of mossy-turf. Time having brought 
many changes for her, she would stand pensively 
and gaze at this still unchanged spot, where the 
little singing burn flowed on in its sparkling 
glee, heedless of the vanished voices which had 
once mingled in its sport. And as she stood 
there her thoughts would go slipping back 

" By the green bye-ways forgotten, to a stiller circle of 


Where violets faded for ever, seemed blooming as once 
in their prime," 

till her bonnie wee leddy's voice seemed again 
to ring out clear and silvery, and she could hear 
Kirsty's low, earnest tones, as she spoke of the 
Master she loved so well. 


COLD north wind that smelled of winter^ 
had been sweeping through the glen for 
Q). several days, making the great fir-forests 
<o) creak and swing, and the ash and birk- 
trees down in the hollow shiver and drop their 
leaves at each gust. The nights had begun to 
draw in visibly, and the mornings felt chilly, 
and looked sad and grey. Everything seemed 
to proclaim that the pleasant autumn days at 
Glen Eagle were nearly done. The purple 
bloom had quite faded from the heather, and 
the hills began to look stern and bleak in the 
cheerless afternoon. 

" Eed o'er the forest peers the setting sun, 
The line of yellow light dies fast away 
That crown'd the eastern copse ; and chill and dun 
Falls on the raoor the brief October day." 

To two young hearts that wintry wind and 
its accompaniments sounded dirge-like and sad, 

THE LOCH, 245 

for it told of happy days that had passed all too 
soon. Blanche sighed as she remembered the 
dull London school-room, and the measured 
promenade in Kensington Park ; and Morag's 
lip grew tremulous as she trotted by Shag's 
side along the familiar roads, and sighed to 
think how desolate they would seem without 
his little mistress. 

The shooting party at the old castle had al- 
ready begun to break up ; and the day for gen- 
eral dispersion to warmer latitudes was fixed, 
when, one afternoon, Blanche and Morag stood 
together in the old court-yard, trying to decide 
what would be the very pleasantest way of 
spending it. They had promised to spend the 
last afternoon with Kirsty ; and now the last 
but one had come, and the hours seemed so 
very precious that they feared to " squander 
one wavelet " of them. 

Shag had returned to his winter quarters 
that morning, not without a tearful parting on 
the little girl's side. The little Shetlander 
manifested no emotion on the occasion ; indeed 
Blanche fancied that she could detect a merry 
twinkle of satisfaction in his bright eye when he 
recognized his master, and heard his native 
Gaelic, and he certainly moved off with him in 
his readiest trot. Chance, too, hat! been sent 

246 MORAG. 

southward along with the first detachment of 
servants, so the little girls were able to make their 
plans irrespective of their quadruped friends. 

It seemed this afternoon as if the setting in 
of bad weather was likely to prove a false alarm 
after all. The bleak wind that had been sweep- 
ing through the strath ceased to blow to-day, 
and the bright sunshine was once again light- 
ing up the desolate ravines, and sending its 
glory upon the autumnal tints down among 
the hollows. Never had the Glen looked more 
lovely, Blanche thought, as her eye wandered 
over the now familiar landscape. The loch lay 
shining in the sunlight, like a looking-glass 
framed in the heather ; and as she looked across 
to it, Blanche suddenly remembered that she 
had promised to go there before she left to 
find a water lily, as a model for one of a group 
of wax flowers which Miss Prosser had been 
making during these holiday afternoons, while 
her pupil was rambling among the hills. 

It was a satisfaction to be able to find an 
object for the walk, and the girls set out briskly 
along the winding path which led from the 
castle grounds to the moorland road. The 
drooping birk boughs were quite golden now, 
and the rowan berries a coral red. Blanche 
kept plucking them as she went cheerily along, 

THE LOCH. 247 

warbling in the sunshine. Feeling very happy 
for the present, she did not allow the shadow 
of the coming separation to throw its gloom 
over her, as it seemed to do with the grave 
little Morag, who walked silently by her side. 
Everything looked bright and smiling, and her 
wee leddy appeared in one of her most joyous 
moods ; and Morag wondered why she should 
feel so sad, that the surrounding brightness 
seemed to jar upon her, rather than chase away 
her sorrowful mood. And as she listened to 
the little birds, who took up the refrain of 
Blanche's warblings, and merrily chirruped 
odes of welcome to the returned sun, Morag 
was reminded of a sentiment expressed in one 
of Kirsty's songs. She had never understood 
the reason of its saying 

" Why will ye chant, ye little birds, 
And I sae weary, f u' o' care ? " 

and had once remarked to her old friend that 
" even though a body was feelin' some sad like, 
it wad surely do their hearts guid to hear the 
birdies sing sic bonnie." 

But Kirsty had smiled and said, "'Deed, 
bairn, but ye' re wrang there, I'm thinkin'. 
No a' the birdies' bonnie sangs, nor a' the sweet 
warks o 1 God, can pit glaidness intil broken, 
Borrowfu' herts. Naething can do that, I'm 

248 MO RAG. 

thinkin', excep' a sicht o' His ain face, and a 
sotin' o' His ain voice. I've whiles thoclit 'at 
the poet-chiel' wha made the bit sang maim 
hae kent fine what it was to hae a richt sorrow- 
f u' sair hert mony a day ; " and Morag thought 
that she was able, from to-day's experience, to 
catch a glimpse of the poet's meaning. 

Presently Blanche caught the infectious 
sadness of her friend, and became quiet and 
meditative also. Flinging away her bunches 
of rowan berries, she came and put her arms 
round Morag's sunburnt neck, saying, gently, 
" You won't quite forget me, Morag, dear, 
when I'm far away, will yon ? " 

A great glow of Jove rose in Morag's heart 
as she felt the soft curls about her neck and 
Blanche's lips on her cheek. She felt as if she 
could have died for her bonnie wee leddy then 
and there, but she only answered quietly, " I'm. 
no thinkin' we'll forget ye that ready. Kirsty 
and me will be min'in' on ye ilka day. But 
I'm some feared whiles that ye'll no be min'in' 
o' the Glen when ye gang back to the gran' 
inuckle toun ye bide in." 

There was something else which Morag 
longed to say to Blanche that afternoon, and 
many times before, but she had never been able 
to summon up courage to speak about it. She 

THE LOCH. 249 

wished to tell her of the new feeling that had 
been taking possession of her heart, and which 
she longed to share with Blanche. 

Since those first days of wonder and per- 
plexity which hearing the hymn in the fir- 
wood caused Morag had never talked to the 
little English girl of those things which had 
been slowly sinking into her heart. Kirsty had 
been her Evangelist, Morag sometimes thought, 
as she read the " Pilgrim's Progress." It was 
she who had pointed out the way to the Wicket 
Gate M*hen the little girl was groping blindly ; 
and to her alone could she speak freely as yet. 
But now that she had come to understand what 
a real, living, listening Friend the Lord Jesus 
Christ is, though unseen by earthly eyes, she 
longed intensely to share this new faith and 
hope with her wee leddy, whom she loved so 
well. And since Kirsty had hinted at the 
many dangers which the world beyond the 
mountains mLht have in store for her now 
guileless friend, she longed the more to ask her 
to take this unseen Friend for her Saviour and 
Guide. But somehow the opportunity passed, 
and they had reached the loch before Morag 
could find words to say what she wanted. 

Blanche did not like the sombre mood 
which appeared to have fallen on them both ; 

250 MORAG. 

and seemed bent on talking herself and her 
friend into a gayer mood by castle-building. 
She began to prattle about all that she meant 
to do next summer, of the many ambitious 
feats in the way of climbing which she meant 
to perform, and of the familiar places written 
over with memories of those pleasant autumn 
days which they would have to revisit. 

The yellow afternoon sun was shining on 
the rippling water of the loch, and the blue 
sky, with numberless white fleecy clouds, lay 
like heaps of snow reflected on its clear depths. 
On the soft mossy banks, sloping down to the 
loch, there grew masses of scented bog myrtle, 
and alder bushes, while yellow flags and rushes 
fringed the edge of the water. The broad 
dark leaves of the water-lilies rocked about in 
tangled masses on the loch ; but Blanche looked 
in vain for a lily to take to Miss Prosser. At 
last she gave up the search, and throwing her- 
self lazily on the sunny bank, she lay watching 
the circles made by the trouts in pursuit of 
flies hovering upon the surface of the water. 

Morag meanwhile spied a wild rose-bush at 
some distance off, on the bank, and she clam- 
bered up to gather the brilliant scarlet berries ; 
and Blanche presently started off again on a 
fresh search after the water-lily ; for she was 

THE LOCH. 251 

unwilling to return from her last expedition 
without the flower which she had promised to 
find. At last she was rewarded by discovering 
a beautiful lily lying hidden away among the 
dark leaves. It seemed to be at a convenient 
stretching distance, so she knelt down on the 
moss, and put out her hand to grasp it, which 
she did with difficulty, for it was further off 
than she had thought. She was about to spring 
back in triumph at having captured the prize, 
when she felt the ground suddenly give way, 
and in spite of her efforts to save herself, she 
went slipping into the water down, down 
among the roots of the floating lilies. 

In her terror she gave a plunge to try to 
grasp some reeds growing near and to regain 
her footing, but she only landed herself fur- 
ther from the bank than before. All happened 
in the twinkling of an eye so quickly that 
Blanche raised no cry. But now that all foot- 
ing was gone, and she felt herself being fast 
submerged in the deep water, she shrieked with 
terror, and threw up her arms in wild dismay. 

Morag was at the water's brink in a mo- 
ment ; but she only came in time to see the 
ripples closing over Blanche's golden crown. 
She stretched out her hands towards her, but 
saw in a moment that she had been carried 

252 MORAG. 

too far out for any such help. Morag looked 
round in silent despair, for she could not swim, 
and she had presence of mind to realise .that 
it would be impossible otherwise to save her; 
but she could not let her bonnie wee leddy die 
all alone there, and, in an instant two little 
girls, instead of one, were struggling for life 
among the rocking lily-leaves. Morag's wild 
plunge brought her alongside Blanche, who, 
with her remaining consciousness roused,, 
clutched her arm, but very soon both the girls 
were sinking, sinking, and the cruel water clo- 
sing over them ! 

Once again Blanche's hands were thrown 
up, and her closing eyes looked on the calm 
afternoon scene the sun-lighted grass, with 
the scarlet berries scattered over it, dropped by 
Morag in her wild plunge towards the bank 
once again, and then 

But what is that rustling among the alder 
bushes, and these sounds of heavy breathing 
after a hard race ? 

Kenneth Macpherson stands on the grassy 
bank just as the long, floating curls went under 
the rippling water, and Blanche Clifford's last 
struggle for life seemed over. She had loosened 
her hold on Morag's arm, who now began to 
make convulsive efforts to find her again, as 

THE LOCH, 253 

she was drifted away. In a moment, Kenneth's 
arm was round Blanche, and with a few vigor- 
ous strokes he laid her on the bank or all that 
remained of her, for his hasty glance gave him 
little hope that life was there. 

Morag's consciousness partially returned as 
soon as he grasped her, and very soon she, too, 
was laid on the grass by the panting Kenneth. 
But the most difficult part of his work was yet 
to come, he thought, as he glanced at the mo- 
tionless figures on the turf. Kneeling down, 
he began to chafe Blanche's cold hands, and 
vainly tried to detect some sign of life. Pres- 
ently Morag got up from the turf, and stood 
shivering, gazing blankly round, as if she were 
at a loss to know what had happened. The 
sight of the water recalled everything with ter- 
i\bb vividness ; she looked wildly round in 
i earch of Blanche, and saw her lying pale and 
motionless on the bank, her fair curls all drench- 
ed and tangled. With a cry of agony, Morag 
sprang to her side. 

" I don't think she's dead, Morag ! " whis- 
pered Kenneth, who still knelt beside her. 
" Do you think y<3u are able to stay here while 
I go to the castle to get help ? But I'm afraid 
you must be very wet and tired, yourself, poor 
Morag ! " 

254 MORAG. 

" Ob, rin ! rin to the castle ! I'll easy bide 
wi' her ! My bonnie wee ledcty, speak but ae 
word til me ! " And Morag bent eagerly over 
her ; but the lips were silent and bloodless, and 
the eyes gave no sign of life. It was terrible to 
be so helpless to do anything, Morag thought, 
as she kept chafing the cold fingers, while, in 
a low monotone of agony, she prayed that her 
wee leddy might come back to life again. 

Meanwhile, Kenneth flew like lightning to 
the castle. On the way, he met the wearied 
remnant of the shooting party sauntering 
homewards, after their last day at the moors, 
all unconscious of what Had been going on at 
the loch. Their pace was quickly changed as 
they hurried towards the water, while servants 
followed with a supply of blankets and all other 
necessaries. Mr. Clifford hardly listened to 
Kenneth's incoherent words, when, flinging 
down his gun, he hurried towards the bank 
where his child lay still unconscious. 

" Blanche, darling, speak to me ! " he cried, 
lifting her in his arms. But the head fell back, 
and the motionless frame gave no sign of life. 
The dearly won trophy, the water-lity, dropped 
at last from the unclasping fingers, and the 
white arm hung listlessly down. 

All restoratives were eagerly tried, and at 

THE LOCH. 255 

length the anxious group on the greensward 
fancied they could detect a slight quiver 
through the frame, and Blanche slowly re- 
turned from the borders of the far-off Land, 
as the last rays of the evening sun were 
gleaming upon the loch. The blue eyes 
opened wearily, and she glanced shiveringly 
round, evidently unconscious of where she 

" Morag, Morag ! don't let me go ! " she 
cried, with a look of terror. " The river is so 
dark and cold ! Do you not see the Golden 
City yet, Morag ? " 

" Hush, Blanche, darling ! You must not 
think of the river any more. You are safe in 
papa's arms now ! " 

Gradually Blanche returned to conscious- 
ness, and remembered what had happened. 
After a bewildered glance at the group on 
the turf, and Miss Prosser seated at her side, 
she began to understand what had brought 
them all there. Presently she sat up among 
the blankets in which she was imbedded, and 
began to look eagerly round for one familiar 
face which she did not see. " Morag ! " she 
whispered, looking inquiringly at her papa, 
and then she glanced towards the rippling 
water, all tinged with the gorgeous sunset hues, 

256 MORAG. 

and there she saw floating the wreath of 
rowan berries which she had twined among 
Morag's black locks that afternoon. " Morag ! 
where is she ? Oh, surely not there ? She 
jumped into the loch ! I remember seeing 
her ! I remember it all now ! " and Blanche 
clasped her hands, and looked wildly into her 
father's face. 

Morag was, meanwhile, seated farther up 
on the bank, where she could catch a glimpse 
of her friend, though she could not be seen 
by her. With her usual shyness, she had 
fled when the castle party surrounded Blanche ; 
and hiding behind some alder bushes, she 
watched with intense anxiety the movements 
within the circle. But when, at last, she 
heard her own name called by Blanche, her 
heart gave a great throb of joy, and in an in- 
stant she was It her wee leddy's side. 

" Morag, darling ! it's all right then ? I 
never felt so happy in my life," said Blanche, 
clasping the little brown hands in her trem- 
bling fingers. " Oh, I was so frightened when 
I woke up. I couldn't see you anywhere, and 
felt almost afraid to ask, when I saw the rowan- 
wreath floating about. Oh ! it was too terri- 
ble. But do tell me, how did it all happen? 
how did we ever get out of the water ? " 

THE LOCH. 257 

" We were droonin', ye ken, leddy ; but 
Kenneth cam' runnin' doun the bank frae 
the peat-moss, and took's baith oot o' the 

" Oh yes ; by the way, where has the brave 
fellow gone ? " asked Mr. Clifford, getting up 
from the turf, where he had been kneeling 
by his daughter's side, and looking about for 

"But Kenneth I don't understand," said 
Blanche, looking perplexed. " He wasn't with 
us, Morag. How did he ever come here ? " 

It was, indeed, a strange coincidence that 
Kenneth Macpherson should have been within 
sight and hearing of the loch this afternoon. 
It was the first time he had been so near it 
since he came to Glen Eagle. He had come to 
a peat-moss in the vicinity tolay in Kirsty's 
winter supply of peats, having borrowed Neil's 
cart for the occasion. Early in the afternoon 
he noticed the little girls pass on their way to 
the loch, as he conjectured. He stopped his 
work for a moment to watch them, and wished 
he had been a little nearer, so that they might 
have spoken to him, as he heard Blanche's ring- 
ing silvery tones through the keen air. And 
not long afterwards, when he heard the wild 
shriek from the loch, he thought he recognized 

258 MO RAG. 

the voice, and leaving cart and peats, bounded 
off in the direction from which it came, reach- 
ing the spot, as we know, just in time to rescue 
the little girls. After his return from the cas- 
t e he had hovered near the watching group 
till he satisfied himself that Blanche had recov- 
ered, and then he went again to work at the 

Morag had watched him slip quietly back 
to his work, unheeding of thanks or praise ; and 
from that hour he became enshrined as a hero 
in her little woman's heart. She longed to see 
the joy and pride which would be reflected in 
Kirsty's gray eyes when she heard of her grand- 
son's share in the doings of this afternoon ; and 
she felt a glow of pride when Mr. Clifford called 
him a brave fellow. 

As soon as Blanche had recovered suffi- 
ciently, they prepared to carry her away from 
the scene of the catastrophe. She was looking 
as pale as the water-lily lying on the turf beside 
her. Catching a glimpse of it, she picked it up, 
and handed it to Miss Prosser, saying, " You 
see I have got it for you. Isn't it a beauty ? 
It was the very last one I could find ; I remem- 
ber holding it so tight when I was in the deep 
water. I suppose Kenneth fished it up with 
me," she added, smiling, as Miss Prosser took 

THE LOCH. 259 

the dearly-won trophy from the trembling lin- 
gers, and kissed her little pupil with more ten- 
derness than she was wont to do. 

Poor little Morag watched her bonnie wee 
leddy being borne away to the castle with tho 
desolate feeling of being left out in the cold. 
The reaction had come after the intense experi- 
ences of these past hours. She stood watching 
the glad procession set out with wistful eyes, 
and then she moved away in the direction of 
her solitary home, for she felt cold and weary 
enough now. Her father had gone to the ken- 
nels before the shooting party heard of the acci- 
dent, and he now sat at home in the hut, won- 
dering what had become of his little daughter. 

" Papa, I remember it all now!" exclaimed 
Blanche, who had been lying pale and medita- 
tive in her father's arms, as he carried her 
home. " I slipped into the water just as I got 
hold of the lily. Morag wasn't in sight, I re- 
member, and I got very frightened when I felt 
the dark water coming all round, and carry- 
ing rne quite away from the bank. I recolJect 
hearing myself scream quite well, and then, 
in a minute, Morag stood on the bank, stretch- 
ing out her hand ; but I couldn't reach it, and 
only got further away than before. And just 
as the water was going right over me, I s-aw 

260 MORAG. 

Morag jump in, and then I don't remember 
anything more. Dear, brave Morag ! it was 
just like her, wasn't it, papa? I'm sure I 
should have been much too frightened to jump 
into the water. But she must be as cold and 
tired as I was, papa! Where are you, Morag?" 
asked Blanche, looking round. 

"Yes, to be sure, pussy; we should have 
thought of that before. You have been absorb- 
ing all our attention in a such troublesome man- 
ner, you see. Where are you, little black-eyes ? 
I saw her flitting about quite briskly a little 
while ago, as if the ducking in her native waters 
had not affected her unpleasantly. I declare, if 
she hasn't redeveloped her propensity for scud- 
ding, Blanchie! She's nowhere to be seen,'' 
said Mr. Clifford, glancing round the group. 

Blanche was so distressed at the disappear- 
ance of her friend, that one of the servants 
was despatched in quest of her, and the little 
girl being presently recaptured, she was, in 
spite of her entreaties, carried off to the cas- 
tle, and put under the old housekeeper's care. 

She was made quite a lion of in the ser- 
vants' hall that evening, though she was some- 
what at a loss to understand why. She re- 
counted, quite eloquently for her, how Kirsty's 
grandson had saved them both, and seemed 

THE LOCH. 261 

much surprised when somebody commended 
her for her efforts to save their little mistress ; 
for it never occurred to her that any other 
course would have been possible than to die 
with her bonnie wee leddy. 

Ellis had never taken the little native to her 
heart, in spite of her little mistress' frequent 
triumphant reminders that the ragged maiden 
of the fir-wood had proved no dangerous gypsy 
after all ; but to-night she was most gracious, 
patting the trembling little Morag condescend- 
ingly on the head, as she led the way to 
Blanche's room, where Morag was summoned 
in the course of the evening. 

The little bare, weather-beaten feet trod 
much more uneasily on the soft carpet than 
among the bracken ; and the friendship which 
had sprung up and flourished among the woods 
and braes did not seem likely to thrive in the 
atmosphere of a luxuriantly-furnished apart- 
ment. Blanche was lying on the sofa, wrap- 
ped in a blue flannel dressing-gown, looking 
very feeble and subdued, \vhen Morag entered 
the room. She looked wistfully at her little 
mountain friend, but did not speak, and Miss 
Prosser, who was seated at her pupil's side, 
noted the mutual shyness, and considerately 

262 MORAG. 

Beckoning to Morag to come and sit beside 
her, she took the little brown hand into her 
fluttering fingers, and said, nervously, " Morag, 
dear, I want so much to speak to you. Do 
you know, though it was only such a moment 
of time, I thought so much when I felt going 
down, down among the dark moving water all 
alone. And you left the pleasant, sunny turf, 
and came to drown with me in that dreadful 
water. How could you venture, Morag? It 
was too brave and kind!" and Blanche's lip 

Morag was going to interrupt her, but she 
went on. " Do you remember that chapter of 
the Bible we were reading to Kirsty yesterday, 
Morag ? I'm afraid I didn't care much for it 
at the time, and only read it to please her ; but 
since I've been lying here, I seem to hear one 
verse of it always. Wasn't it Jesus Christ who 
said that it was the greatest love to lay down 
one's life for a friend? Morag, that's what 
you did for me. I saw you do it. Oh, Morag, 
when I awoke and saw the rowan-wreath Boat- 
ing about in the water, and you not anywhere 
to be seen ! " and Blanche covered her face and 

All Morag's shyness seemed to vanish 
when she had to take the part of a comforter. 

THE LOCH. 263 

The little brown arm was quietly slipped 
round the bent head, and she whispered 
gently, " Ye mustna think nothing o' my slip- 
pin' in efter ye til the water. I couldna hae 
bidden ahin' for onything. But ye see if it 
hadna been for Kenneth, none o' us would hae 
been gotten oot o' the loch." And after a 
pause she continued, "I'm no thinkin' that 
word frae the Bible would even mean the like 
o' Kenneth, though. Will it no be meanin' 
the Lord Jesus Christ, that died o' the green 
hill, as ye're bonnie hymn speaks o' ? I weel 
min' the day I heard it;" and then she added, 
with an evident effort, "and I've aye been 
wantin' to tell ye that I love Him richt weel 
myseP noo, sin' yon day i' the fir-wood." 

" And is it because you love the Lord Jesus 
so much that you were so brave at the loch to- 
day, Morag ? " said Blanche, looking question- 
ingly at her. 

" I'm no thinkin' that exactly," replied Mo- 
rag, slowly, as if she were pondering her mo- 
tives; "I'm thinkin' it was because I looed 
you, little leddy, and forby, life wotildna hae 
seemed muckle worth gin ye had been awa." 

" D'ye min' the bonnie picter oot o' the 
' Pilgrim's Progress ? ' I was jist thinkin' to 
mysel', on my road hame the nicht, that gin 

264 MO RAG. 

Kenneth hadna come, we would hae gotten 
thegither to the bonnie toon lyin' i' the sun, 
like the droonin' folk i' the picter," and Morag 
looked at Blanche, and smiled brightly. 

The little girl shook her head sadly. " You 
would have gone to the Golden City, Morag ; 
but I'm afraid I shouldn't. You see I never 
really thought I should like to go to heaven. 
It seemed to me that it would be so much nicer 
to stay always here, in this beautiful world 
we know and love, than to be sent away to 
an unknown land. Do you know, Morag, I 
thought of all that to-day, as I looked at the 
pleasant sunny banks of the loch, just before 
the cruel, creeping water covered me all up. 
It made me feel so terrified." 

There was silence for a few minutes. At 
last, Morag said, quietly 

" But I'm no thinkin' heaven isna a kin' o' 
land we dinna ken, when Jesus is there Him- 
sel', waitin' for us. He made ilka body so 
happy-like when he was i' the warl' ; and 
though we canna see Him, I'm thinkin' He's 
jist the same yet. When we get til the golden 
gates o' the City we read aboot i' the hinner 
en' o' the Bible, he wad jist be puttin' His 
han's on us, and sayin' something kin' like, 
and we wad be feelin' at hame. He speaks 

THE LOCH. 265 

that plain like til folk here, tho' we canna see 
Him. I dinna think I would be feared to 
gang til get a sicht o' Him." 

There was a light in Morag's eye that 
made Blanche feel she was speaking of what 
she knew. 

" He never speaks to me like that, Morag. 
I don't think He can love me at all. I'm sure 
He doesn't. I'm so dreadfully wicked. Be- 
sides, I'm afraid I never cared to know about 
Him at all ; indeed, I never felt as if He were 
a real person." 

"I thocht that ance, till Kirsty telt me 
different," said Morag, interrupting her. " I'm 
weel sure He looes you richt weel, leddy. I'm 
thinking He's no far frae us, jist this minute. 
Will ye no speak til Him yersel' in yer ain 
bonnie words, leddy ? I'm thinkin' He would 
like weel fo be listening til the like o' you," 
whispered Morag, eagerly, as she knelt by 
Blanche's side. 

" O Morag ! do you mean that I should 
pray in my very own words? I couldn't, 
indeed. Of course I say my prayers every 
night one of the Collects generally." 

" I dinna ken what a Collec' is," replied 
Morag, looking perplexed. 

" Oh, well, it's a written prayer we use in 


church. If you'll bring that case of books to 
me, I'll show it to you." 

Blanche turned the leaves of her daintily- 
bound Church Service, and read some of its 
strong, thrilling words of prayer, which rang 
like the music of a psalm in Morag's ear. 

" That's jist terrible bonnie a hantle bon- 
nier than onything a body would make up 
themsels. I like richt weel to hear't. Would 
ye jist read a bit more, gin ye please ? " and 
the little girl's face glowed with pleasure as 
she sat listening. 

After looking meditatively into the fire for 
some minutes when Blanche had finished read- 
ing, she said, slowly 

" Ay, that is richt bonnie ; and I'm think- 
in' sic sweet words maun please Him weel. 
But there's jist something mak's me think He 
wad like a body's verra ain words 'best o' a'. 
Now, d'ye no think, gin ye was wantin' . ony- 
thing frae yer father, it wouldna be sic nateral 
like to read it oot o' a bonnie buik as jist to pit 
your arms roun' his neck, and plead wi' him a 
bittie, as I've seen you do, whiles, and ye 
ken fine ye aye get the thing ye're wantin','' 
she added, smiling archly; and then she con- 
tinued "Weel, I'm thinkin' that maun be 
what He would hae us to do, frae what He 

THE LOCH. 267 

says Hirnsel'. " D'ye no think that yersel', 
leddy ? " asked Morag, looking earnestly into 
Blanche's troubled face. 

"I think I understand what you mean, 
Morag ; but I never thought of speaking to 
Jesus Christ like that. "Why did you not ever 
tell me that you did till to-night, Morag ? " 
asked Blanche, reproachfully. " You remem- 
ber you wanted so very much to know all 
about Him when I knew you first. Dear me, 
Morag, you must have found out a great deal 
about these things since then," added Blanche, 

" Ay have I," replied Morag, smiling bright- 
ly. " But it was frae yersel' I first heard His 
name. D'ye mind on't, leddy ? I'm thinkin' 
I'll min' upon't as lang as I live and maybe 
efter-hin. Kirsty was jist sayin' yestreen, 
she's richt sure folk dosna forget the travellin' 
days when they win safe hame til the Golden 

" Oh ! I remember. You mean that morn- 
ing when I was gathering cones in the fir- 
wood, and began singing a hymn. I had been 
singing for a long time before I looked up and 
saw you. I was so astonished to see you lean- 
ing against the tree, and so glad that I had 
found you again," and Blanche laughed 4ner 

268 MORAG. 

rily at the recollection of the scene. Presently 
she became grave again, and taking Morag's 
hand in hers, she added, in a low tone " But, 
Morag, you must not think I was singing about 
Jesus Christ because I loved Him, or cared for 
the words of the hymn. I think I chose them 
because they seemed to suit the air I wanted 
to sing. I think I do care now, though. O 
Morag ! you might speak to Jesus Christ your- 
self just now, and I'll try, too. Perhaps he 
will listen to us both. Do ask Him to teach 
me to be good when I go back to London. I 
used to be so naughty often you've no idea. 
Do, please," added Blanche beseechingly, for 
she knew Morag's extreme shyness, and feared 
that her request might not be complied with. 

The little mountain maiden seemed quite 
lifted out of her reserve. At once the dark 
tangled locks went down among the bright 
chintz cushions, and Morag spoke in low, rev- 
erent tones to the listening friend she had 
come to know and love during these autumn 

Morag was still kneeling when Ellis came 
bustling into the room to say that the keeper 
had come to fetch his little daughter. Blanche 
looked much disappointed. The time had 
passed so quickly, and there was still much 

THE LOCH. 269 

she wanted to talk about, but she had to con- 
tent herself with arranging a meeting at 
Kirsty's cottage on the following afternoon. 

" "We shall have so much to tell her, shan't 
we ? And only fancy, Morag, papa is coming, 
too ! He says he will drive me there that 
he wants to see Kenneth to thank him. Is 
it not funny to think that papa has never 
seen Kirsty ? He says he is quite anxious to 
be introduced to her. Won't it be fun to see 
them together? I have been telling him all 
the things I want him too look at, and what 
chair it will be best to sit on it would be 
a pity if he took Kirsty's chair, you know. 
I'm only afraid he may be too tall to get in 
at the door. I've been telling him he'll have 
to stoop ever so much." And Blanche laughed 
merrily at the idea, as Ellis hurried Morag 
away, saying that her father would be impa- 

The next day was cold, and wet, and scowl- 
ing. Blanche seemed very tired and feverish, 
and was not allowed to leave her bed, to 
which, indeed, she made no resistance the 
loch adventure seemed so completely to have 
exhausted her. She dozed comfortably till 
evening, when her papa came to sit beside 
her, and she became quite lively as she lis- 

270 MORAG. 

tened to his account of his visit to Kirsty's 
cottage, which he had paid that afternoon. 

" Now, Blanchie, is there anything more 
you can possibly think of asking concerning 
this visit ? " said Mr. Clifford, laughingly, as he 
replied to Blanche's eager questioning. " I 
couldn't have endured a greater fire of cross- 
questioning if I had come from one of Her 
Majesty's drawing-rooms, and you wanted 
a description of each toilette. Did I .see a 
stool called ' Thrummy ? ' "Well, I was almost 
precipitated into the fire-place, just as I was 
going to make my bow to Kirsty, by stumb- 
ling over a bundle of rags which answers to 
your description, so I suppose I did see the 
historical ' Thrummy.' Smiling, he contin- 
ued : " Then I sat down I hope on the right 
chair but you may be sure I was dreadfully 
afraid of making a faux pas after all your 
instructions, Blanchie. I ended by having 
quite a long talk with your friend Kirsty, 
though I had considerable difficulty in under- 
standing her dialect. She is really a very 
fine specimen of a peasant woman. I quite 
admire your taste, pussy. There is a won- 
derful amount of sense and pathos in her way 
of viewing things in general, notwithstanding 
that atrocious northern dialect." 

THE LOCH. 271 

" Oh, papa ! don't say it's atrocious ! I like 
to listen to it so much now. I'm sure I could 
never like an old woman half so well if she did 
not speak like Kirsty. She is the first I have 
ever known, and I love her so much," added 
Blanche with a sigh, when she thought how 
soon she would be far away from the ben-end of 
Kirsty 's cottage, where she had spent some of 
the pleasantest hours of her life. 

" Yes ; she is a first-rate old woman, I al 
low ; but she has put me in the embarrassing 
position of absolutely refusing to accept any 
reward for her grandson's brave conduct yester- 
day. Unfortunately, one is not much accus- 
tomed to such delicacy of feeling, so perhaps 
I did not manage the matter rightly. I began 
to see what kind of stuff she was made of, and 
I did try to approach the subject as carefully as 
possible. But she shook her fine old head res- 
olutely, and would not hear of anything more 
substantial than thanks." 

" Ah ! that was so like Kirsty ! I don't 
really think she would care a bit for anything 
you might give her ; only I do think she will 
be well pleased that you went to see her, and 
said nice things about Kenneth. She does al- 
ways look so glad to see Morag and me," added 
Blanche, smiling at the recollection of the warm 

272 MORAG. 

reception which they never failed to receive at 
the little cottage. 

" But did you not see Kenneth himself, 
papa ? " 

" Yes, I did. The bright idea occurred to 
me that the grandson might be more amenable, 
and before the old woman went to fetch him, I 
took the precaution of asking her not to lay 
any commands on the boy, at all events. She 
replied, in that wonderful voice of hers, ' Na, 
na ; I'se houp the laddie winna need nae corn- 
man's o' mine anent sic a maitter.' So Ken- 
neth was produced, and I thanked the brave 
fellow, in your name and mine. His face quite 
glowed with pleasure, I saw ; but when I ad- 
ded, ' Now, Kenneth, my little daughter wants 
to give you something more than thanks for 
saving her life and her little friend's, though 
we know money can't pay for a brave deed like 
that,' or something to that effect, his counte- 
nance fell directly, and he was quite as inexora- 
ble on that point as his old grandmother. So 
we must set our wits to work to manage the 
matter. I'll speak to Dingwall about it." 

" I'm so glad Kenneth didn't want to take 
Anything," exclaimed Blanche. "I'm sure 
Kirsty will be glad. She is so very anxious he 
should grow up a really good man. Don't her 

THE LOCH. 273 

gray eyes look so pretty when she smiles, 
papa ? " 

" ISTow, pussy, I'm not going to join in any 
more raptures concerning Kirsty's eyes, or her 
other perfections. Good-night, darling. You 
are looking quite feverish again. We shall 
have plenty of time to talk about Kirsty when 
we get back to London, you know," added Mr. 
Clifford, as he saw that Blanche looked disap- 
pointed to close the conversation. 

At last Blanche went to sleep, thinking how 
very nice it was to have her papa all to herself, 
for a whole evening ; and that, after all, though 
it was very sad to leave Glen Eagle, it could 
not be dull in London when her papa was to be 
there, as he evidently meant to be, when he 
spoke of having talks about Kirsty. 



T had been arranged that the journey 
southward should be postponed for a few 
days on account of the loch accident ; 
but the next morning was so bright and 
pleasant, and Blanche looked so fresh and well, 
that there seemed no reason for departing from 
the original plan^ and it was hastily decided that 
she and her governess should start for London, 
travelling by easy stages. 

Great was Blanche's dismay when she heard 
of this arrangement. She had been rejoicing 
over another pleasant day in the Glen, and be- 
gan to think that the loch adventure had some 
advantages after all, seeing it was going to 'se- 
cure a few more days in the Highlands. 

" It can't possibly be true, Ellis. You had 
better not go on with that packing till you get 
further orders," said the little girl, in a tone 
more imperious than she almost ever used, as 
she found her maid in a state of pleasurable 


bustle and excitement over boxes that were 
being quickly filled. 

" Yes, missie ; it's quite true, I assure you," 
replied her maid, without looking up from the 
box over which she was stooping. " Miss Pros- 
ser says it's a hexcellent arrangement, and, for 
my part, I agree with her 'eartily. It quite 
sets one up to think of gettin' back to civilized 
existence. There's cook quite a henvyin' of 
me, because I'm going three days sooner." 

" I wish I were cook, I'm sure," burst in 
Blanche. "But, Ellis, I'm sure papa can't 
mean me to go to-day. He can't, indeed ! I 
shall go and ask him this minute. You'd bet- 
ter stop putting in those things, Ellis," she 
added, impatiently. 

But Ellis smiled confidently, and went on 
with her work, while Blanche ran away down 
the great staircase, feeling rather faint-hearted, 
however, as she thought of the possibility of 
Ellis's tidings being true. Below, she found 
everybody in a state of the most unpleasant 
pre-occupation. Miss Prosser was in the midst 
of elaborate packings, and smilingly assured her 
little pupil that they were really going. The 
carriage was to be at the door exactly at twelve 
o'clock, so she must make haste to be ready in 
time; and was it not pleasant they were go- 

276 MO RAG. 

ing to have such a fine day to leave Glen 
Eagle ? and should they not be thankful that 
she was well enough to travel so soon after so 
serious an accident ? 

Blanche fled from Miss Prosser, along the 
winding passages towards the library, in the 
hope of finding her papa. There was still one 
last resource ; she would beg him to allow her 
to remain, even one day, longer. There he 
was, seated in the library, to be sure ; but sur- 
rounded by such piles of letters and papers, 
and with his most business-like expression on 
his face. Several people were waiting to speak 
to him and there seemed no hope of Blanche 
gaining an audience, unless she went boldly up 
to him, and made her petition before them all. 
She lingered about for a little time, trying to 
summon up courage, but at last glided away 
without uttering a word. 

Then she wandered into the entrance-hall, 
and stood leaning on the old stuffed fox, watch- 
ing the pile of boxes and portmanteaus in the 
court-yard, which increased in size every min- 
ute. The servants were hurrying to and fro 
in a state of bustle and excitement. Evidently, 
to Blanche alone these signs of departure 
brought a pang of regret. The thought of 
those pleasant vanished afternoons was too 


much to be borne. She had known that she 
must leave the Highland glen before long : but 
she did not dream it would be such a cruel 
tearing away as this. 

After wandering aimlessly about for some 
time, she remembered that she must see Hora 


before the dreaded hour arrived. She could 
not surely have heard that they were really go- 
ing to-day, or else she would have come, and 
there was no sign of her anywhere. Blanche 
wandered round the castle, among the grove 
of ash-trees, and into the old garden, but she 
did not find her friend at any of the usual 

At last she made up her mind what she 
would do. Hurrying swiftly along the birk- 
walk, where the drooping boughs were quite 
golden now, she clambered up the steep ascent 
which led to the little shieling among the 

Blanche's spirits began to rise again. It 
would be so pleasant to give Morag a surprise. 
Probably she would find her at work inside 
the cottage. Perhaps she would be paring 
potatoes, as she had been on a previous occa- 
sion, which Blanche remembered well for had 
she not sat down on a little stool beside her, and, 
being provided with a knife, had pared away 


delightedly. She thought it the most charm- 
ing of amusements ; but when she was dress- 
ing for the drawing-room that evening, Ellis 
had looked suspiciously at the stained fingers, 
which resisted ordinary ablutions, and Blanche, 
having been obliged to divulge to what culi- 
nary uses they had been devoted that day, had 
been forbidden by her governess to visit Morag 
again. It was therefore many weeks since she 
had been within the hut; but she felt sure 
that Miss Prosser could not be angry at her 
going on a farewell visit like this. 

The door stood open, and Blanche walked 
in on tiptoe, smiling to think how astonished 
her little friend would be to see her. She 
glanced eagerly round the room, but no Morag 
was to be seen anywhere. The peat fire was 
burning brightly, and the potatoes lay among 
water in a nice wooden dish, all ready pared. 
But these traces of the absent inmate only 
made the disappointment keener. Blanche 
stood looking round, with a very dreary feel- 
ing. It was so hard not to find Morag, and 
she had evidently not been gone for long; if 
she had only thought of coming earlier, it 
would have been all right. The dreaded hour 
fixed for leaving the castle must be very near 
now, and what if she could not be found before 


then ? Blanche's heart sank as she contempla- 
ted the possibility. Before she turned to go, 
she cast a lingering glance round the empty 
dwelling, and she could not help remarking 
how much nicer it looked than when she saw it 

The roof was still far from being rainproof 
certainly, and the earthen floor was more undu- 
lating than was quite pleasant to walk upon ; 
but the most had been made of everything that 
vvas capable of improvement. There was a 
sort of imitation of Kirsty's household arrange- 
ments which was very observable to Blanche, 
and she smiled through her tears as she noted 
it. On the shelf was ranged quite an imposing 
row of shining delf, where there used only to 
stand a stray broken dish or two. Everything 
was spotlessly clean and neat; and, in the 
little window, there flourished some of the old 
woman's favorite flowers, of which she had 
given slips to Morag. All this, and more, 
Blanche's quick eye took in at a gluncc ; and 
the thought of its being the work of a pair of 
little, eager hands she knew well, brought quite 
a glow of pleasure, in the midst of her disap- 

Blanche stood gazing at Morag's home till 
it was photographed in her memory. And as 

280 MORAG. 

she turned away to go down the hill, she 
thought that surely Morag must have sought 
and found help from her unseen Friend for all 
those home duties, which it must be so difficult 
for a little girl no bigger than herself to have 
to do ; and she longed to hear more about that 
friendship, from the little mountain maiden. 

Gazing wistfully in the direction of the fir- 
wood, she wondered if she would have time to 
go to see whether Morag was to be found at 
their old trysting-piace, the flat grey rock ; but 
she dreaded that she would not, so she hurried 
tearfully towards the castle, and only reached 
home as the carriage drove to the door. She 
found Ellis setting out to look for her in a state 
of great indignation and perplexity, having, 
in the midst of the bustle, only that minute 
missed her charge. Some luncheon had to be 
sw r allowed in great haste ; and then, while Miss 
Prosser was seating herself in the carriage, 
Blanche took the opportunity of darting off on 
a farewell journey round the grey old keep, 
where she had spent so many happy days. 
Only at the last minute did her papa emerge 
from the library to say good-bye to his little 
daughter. He meant to go south by a differ- 
ent route, and would not rejoin her in London 
for several weeks 


Blanche felt as if all the waves and billows 
of trouble had gone over her head when she 
accidentally heard this piece of news, as she 
was at last compelled to seat herself in the car- 
riage by Miss Prosser's side. She conld not 
make any response to her father's cheerful 
waving to her as they were driven swiftly away. 
She felt the knot in her throat getting bigger 
every minute as they were whirled past the 
pleasant birk-walk and along the winding ave- 
nue, getting occasional glimpses through the 
boughs of the spruce fir-trees of the old grey 
turrets, or the moorland beyond. 

At last they got upon the high road, and 
drove swiftly on between the sharply outlined 
mountains that reared themselves high and 
solemn all round like sentinels keeping eter- 
nal watch over the Glen, amid all the changes 
that went on below. 

Miss Prosser was busied with the index to 
" Bradshaw," so that, fortunately, or the re- 
verse, Blanche was left to her own reflections. 
She kept an eager watch, as they drove swiftly 
on in the forlorn hope of catching a glimpse of 
Morag. But the familiar spots were quickly 
being left behind, and there was no trace of 
her anywhere ; and Blanche's hope died quite 
away when they got into the wider range of 

282 MORAG. 

the strath, away in the direction of her south- 
ern home. 

If only Blanche had not buried her face for 
a moment among the furs as she was passing 
the larch plantation, which at a certain point 
skirted the high road, her quick eye might 
have discovered the person she so longed to 

Morag stood among the larch trees, bead- 
ing under a heavy bundle of faggots, which 
she had been gathering, and which she had 
just managed to strap on her back. Hearing 
the sound of wheels on the road, she turned to 
look, but was only in time to catch a glimpse 
of the carriage, as it passed swiftly along by 
the old winding dyke. Some traces of luggage 
were visible, and Ellis was seated on the box. 
Morag's heart sank. Was it possible they 
were leaving the Glen, to-day, after all ? And 
she had been going cheerily on with her work 
that morning, in the hope of another afternoon 
with Blanche. For had not Ellis told her, 
when she went to inquire at the castle the day 
before, that the southward journey had been 
postponed for several days. Only a short time 
ago she had been smiling as she gathered her 
fire-wood, thinking how pleased Kirsty would 
look when the wee leddy walked into the cot- 


tage that afternoon. But now, the more she 
thought of it, the more sure she felt that those 
cruel, swift wheels were carrying her away be- 
yond their reach, to a land that seemed terri- 
ble and unknown indeed to the little moun- 
tain maiden. 

She ran to the edge of the wood, and climb- 
ing on the lichen-spotted dyke, she gazed wist- 
fully along the winding road, where the shin- 
ing carriage was rolling swiftly along. And 
after she had watched it till it could be seen no 
longer, the little girl sat down and wept bit- 
t rly. Her bonnie wee leddy had gone with- 
out one parting word. Surely she must have 
utterly forgotten her, or else she could not have 
acted thus. Gladly would she have walked 
miles across pathless hills to touch her wee led- 
dy 's hand, and now she had gone without ever 
sending to ask her to come. And, as she sat 
weeping on the old grey dyke, the friendship 
of these autumn days seemed to grow dream- 
like all of a sudden. Had she ever really 
walked by Shag's side with the little lady of 
the castle among the moors, or sat with her in 
the ben-end of Kirsty Macpherson's cottage ? 
or, had she been in fairyland all these weeks ? 
The past seemed to grow so shadowy ; and the 
bundle of dead sticks was so real and heavy, as 

284 MORAG. 

she wearily rose, at last, to take her solitary 
way to the hut among the crags. 

She had only gone a few steps in the direc- 
tion of home, when she saw coming towards 
her through the larch trees Kenneth Mac- 

" Who would have thought of meeting you 
here, Morag ? " he cheerily accosted her. 
"And with such a heavy bundle of sticks, 
too. Let me carry it for you do ! Why 
it's bigger than yourself!" he added, with a 
pleasant smile, as he unfastened it and threw 
it across his own broad shoulders. 

"You're going home, I suppose, Morag; 
ar'nt you?" he asked as he walked by her 
side. " I didn't know you ever came here. 
I often do. I can hardly ever pass the place 
without crossing the dyke. You mind the 
tartan folds, Morag ? " said the boy, smiling 
sadly, as he glanced at the lonely spot from 
whence his mother's soul had gone home to 

" Ay do I ! I mind upon't weel," replied 
Morag, with quivering lip. The remembrance 
brought such a rush of mingled recollections 
that she could not say more just then. 

" Oh, by the by, Morag, I wish I had 
known a few minutes ago that you were to 


be found here. I saw somebody who was 
very anxious to get a sight of you. Who do 
you think ? The bounie wee leddy, as you call 
her, on her way back to London ! " 

Morag stood still to listen, and as she 
looked earnestly into Kenneth's face, he no- 
ticed that she had been crying. " I never kent 
she was awa till I got a blink o' the cairage 
no lang syne. She never telt me she was 
goin' the day," and the little girl struggled 
vainly to keep back the tears. 

" But I'm sure it wasn't her fault that you 
did not know she was leaving the Glen to-day, 
Morag. She seemed very sorry-like herself, 
and sent a message to you. When she noticed 
me on the road she jumped up from among 
a lot of furs, and stopped the carriage. The 
lady beside her was reading a book, and she 
looked up some angry like, and said something 
sharp. I think the wee leddy wanted to get 
out of the carriage to come and speak to me, 
but she wouldn't let her. Then she stretched 
her hand down and smiled very pleasantly, 
though I think she had been crying, too," 
added the kind-hearted Kenneth rather pathet- 
ically, as he glanced at Morag. " Then she 
began to thank me for what I did at the loch. 
I'm sure it wasn't anything to thank a body 

286 MORAG. 

so much for. Such a pretty voice she has. 
It just sounded like the chimes of silver bells, 
Morag. And after she had thanked me, she 
stooped down quite low, and whispered as if 
she were afraid that the lady would hear, ' Oh, 
Kenneth, do you think you could find Morag 
anywhere ? I'm sure she can't know I've 
gone, or else she would surely have come to 
see me.' But just then the lady rose very 
angry like, ' and said, sharply, ' Come now, 
Blanche, I cannot permit this. Drive on, 
Lucas ! ' she called out to the coachman ; and 
then she sat down to her book again. The 
wee lady seemed very vexed, and when the 
horses started, she stretched down once again, 
and her curls came falling about her face 
and she cried, ' Give Morag my dearest 

When Kenneth had finished his narration, 
Morag began to sob again, and he felt greatly 
at a loss to know how to comfort her. But 
they were tears of joy now. The feeling of 
bitterness was all gone. Her bonnie wee leddy 
had not forgotten her, and the friendship of 
those autumn days was no bit of fairyland after 

Kenneth did not leave her till the bundle 
of firewood was deposited in the hut, and 


Morag had promised to come and pay them a 
visit at the cottage that afternoon. 

And as he went sauntering down the hill 
with his hands in his pockets, whistling a tune, 
he thought what a very nice girl Morag was ; 
and how glad he felt that it was not she who 
had gone away from the Glen. And he further 
decided that such a great bundle of sticks was 
much too heavy for a girl to carry, and resolved 
that, in future, he should always be in attend- 
ance to carry home the firewood. 

As Morag re-entered the cottage, and 
glanced round the empty room, she saw some- 
thing lying on the earthen floor which she had 
not dropped there; and stooping down, she 
picked up a little, half-worn glove, which told 
a tale. She looked eagerly round, as if some 
lingering presence of itas owner must still per- 
vade. Her bonnie wee leddy was leal and true 
after all, and she felt remorseful that she had 
doubted her for a moment. Kissing the token 
reverently, she opened the old kist, and slipped 
it between the folds of her most precious book, 
where it remained a sacred relic of that morn- 
ing's visitor for many a long year. 




|'T was a foggy November afternoon ; the 
color of the surrounding atmosphere 
was almost as yellow as the gorgeous 
damask hangings which draped Mr. 
Clifford's handsome drawing-room. Our friend 
Blanche was wandering listlessly up and down 
the room, in one of her most restless moods, her 
governess remarked, as she looked up from a 
piece of elaborate lace-work which was grow- 
ing rapidly under her diligent fingers. 

It was the usual hour for walking, but the 
unpleasant weather had kept them indoors. 
Blanche seemed to find this play-hour extremely 
dull, and appeared to have failed in all her 
efforts to amuse herself. On one of the couches 
there lay open a beautiful drawing-room book 
of engravings, which she had been looking at, 
but she knew all the pictures by heart already, 
so she soon tired of turning the leaves. Then 
she went to the piano to try over some old 


chorales of her mamma's copying, which she 
had found among her music ; but Miss Prosser 
presently remarked that she might play some- 
thing more lively on such a dismal day as this, 
so Blanche, at last, glided away among the cur- 
tains, and stood looking out on the dense fog. 
The amber gloom enveloped even the nearest 
objects, so there was really nothing to see from 
the window, though Blanche stood gazing out 
intently. But there was a far-away look in her 
eyes which seemed to betoken that it was a 
mental picture which absorbed her. 

Miss Prosser again glanced uneasily at her 
little charge; but this time she did not speak. 
Her pupil had been rather a puzzle to ker of 
late, and she would gladly have shared her 
thoughts as she stood there. It was not her 
habit, however, to elicit confidences of any kind 
from her pupils ; and, indeed, till quite lately, 
it had not been necessary in Blanche Clifford's 
case. Her nature was so frank and gay that 
her thoughts were generally shared by those 
nearest to her, whether they were sympathetic 
listeners or not. But, of late, a change had 
been stealing over the little girl. She had 
grown more quiet and self-contained than she 
used to be. Less wayward and troublesome 
she certainly was, but her governess sometimes 

290 MORAG. 

thought, as she looked at her thoughtful face, 
that she would gladly welcome back some of 
the old boisterous ways which she used to char- 
acterize so severely. 

Presently Blanche emerged from among the 
yellow draperies, and, seating herself on a low 
stool, looked meditatively into the fire. 

" Miss Prosser, I am afraid yon will think 
it a very siTy question I'm going to ask," 
she said presently, as she threw herself at her 
governess' feet, laying her hands on her knees. 
"Do you think I begin to get any better at all? 
I have been trying so hard to be good ever 
since I came from Glen Eagle ; but it is so dif- 
ficult," added Blanche, with a deep sigh. 
" There now, I tried ever so hard to write that 
French letter correctly last night, and yet I had 
several mistakes to-day, you know." 

" My dear child, you are getting morbid. 
This unpleasant fog has a most depressing ef- 
fect, I know. You are a very good child, my 
dear. There is no reason to reproach yourself 
as you do, I assure you. Only this morning, 
in my report to your father, I stated that I was 
pleased with your progress, and Signer Lesbini 
was expressing his satisfaction with you, also," 
added Miss Prosser, who, however, felt rather 
disconcerted by the new role she had to play in 


taking her pupil's part against herself. It was 
so unlike the bright, careless Blanche of a few 
months ago ; and as she glanced at the wistful, 
upturned face, she noticed that the outline of 
the cheek was sharper than of old, and the del- 
icate tracery of veins on the forehead more vis- 
ible. Still the child was well enough, to all 
appearance, and Miss Prosser began to think 
that she, too, must be growing fanciful. 

" But you don't see my heart, Miss Prosser, 
or you would not say I was good," replied 
Blanche, looking into her governess' face with 
a perplexed gaze. " You have no idea how 
naughty I felt to-day, when you decided that 
we should not go out to walk. I think I feel 
oftener cross than I used to do ; and yet I try 
so very hard to be good," sighed Blanche, des- 
pondingly. " Will you tell me, Miss Prosser, 
if you thought much about the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and tried to please Him, when you were 
about my age? I wonder whether my mam- 
ma did ! " continued the little girl, as she looked 
musingly into the lire. 

" My dear Blanche, of course it is proper 
that we should lead Christian lives. You know 
our parents and sponsors undertook that for us, 
in baptism. And one day you will be con- 
firmed, I hope. I should like you to go up at 

292 MORAG. 

the same time as your cousin, Lady Matilda. By 
the way, Blanche, I think I shall write and ask 
her mamma if she may come and spend a day 
with you. You have hardly seen her since you 
came home. And you shall have a whole hol- 
iday, and do whatever you like. You quite 
deserve it, for you have been a most diligent 
child lately. We have really been getting over 
a great deal of ground. And these harp-lessons, 
which your papa is so anxious for you to have, 
do take up so much time. Yes, I think I shall 
write this afternoon and ask the little Lady 
Matilda to come on Friday." 

Blanche sighed, and continued her medita- 
tions among the glowing coals. She was think- 
ing of another friend whom she would much 
rather have to spend the day. One afternoon's 
ramble in the fir-wood with Morag Diugwall, 
she thought, would be worth half-a-dozen walks 
in the Park with any Lady Matilda in the 

These autumn days already began to gather 
round them that halo which seems always to sur- 
round past periods. The very names and places 
connected with those days thrilled Blanche like 
the music of a song. But, unlike her usual 
frank disposition, she never had these names 
on her lips, but kept them like a stolen casket 


of precious gems, only to be taken out and 
looked at when alone. So noticeable, indeed, 
was her silence concerning Glen Eagle, that 
Miss Prosser concluded the Highland experi- 
ences were quite out of mind ; and she was not 
sorry, on the whole, to think that the bond had 
been so quickly loosened between her pupil and 
the little mountaineer. 

The maid Ellis was absent on a visit to her 
friends, or probably her many garrulous mem- 
ories of Stratheagle might have broken through 
Blanche's reserve ; but, as it was, she dwelt si- 
lently among her mental pictures of the High- 
land glen. 

When Signor Lesbini, her music master, 
was announced, Blanche's thoughts were far 
away in the ben-end of Kirsty's cottage. Start- 
ing up from her seat by the fire, she ran to find 
her music, while the servant placed her harp in 
its usual position, and Miss Prosser and the 
music master were exchanging stately salutes. ' 

Mr. Clifford was anxious that Blanche's 
taste for music should be cultivated in every 
direction ; and these lessons were inserted in 
the educational programme by his special de- 
sire. Blanche was very anxious that she should 
be able to make some pleasant sounds on the 
harp before her father came home ; and sho 

294 MORAG. 

was succeeding in doing so, to judge from her 
master's frequent, soft, " bene, benissimo, Sig- 
norina ! " 

Miss Prosser, meanwhile retired to a dis- 
tant corner of the room to write various small 
scented notes to her friends. Among others, 
an invitation was duly despatched to the small 
Lady Matilda, asking her to spend a day with 
her cousin, and to go to the pantomime in the 
evening. The latter part of the programme 
Miss Prosser kept as a reserve treat for Blanche, 
who had never been to a pantomime, and wished 
very much to see one. 

The invitation was duly accepted on behalf 
of the little Lady Matilda. She appeared on 
the day appointed, alighting from her smart 
pony carriage, escorted by her maid and foot- 
man. She was a lean, dark, sallow child, very 
different in coloring and expression from her 
cousin Blanche. She always appeared in the 
most sleek, unruffled state of tidiness and pro- 
priety ; she looked, in fact, as if she had come 
into the world precisely as she stood at the 
same stage of growth, and in the same faultless 
toilette. At least such was the reflection which 
sometimes rose to Ellis's mind as she surveyed 
her with half envious, half contemptuous eyes, 
side by side with her careless and often dishev- 


elled little mistress, whose shoulders would 
somehow get out of her frocks ; and one of 
whose shoes had been actually known to 
go amissing during dinner, being afterwards 
brought to her, on a silver tray, by her aunt's 
solemn butler. Of this terrible faux pas, the 
Lady Matilda's maid occasionally reminded Ellis 
when they quarrelled over the respective merits 
of their little ladies. 

Notwithstanding Miss Prosser's well-mean- 
ing efforts to create a friendship between the 
cousins, they did not appear to draw to each 
other in the least. The earlier hours of the 
day passed in uneventful dulness at least so 
thought Blanche, who shocked her governess 
by yawuing twice in her visitor's face, and 
exhibiting various other tokens of her want of 
appreciation of her society. Finally, she dis- 
appeared for a period, and returned with the 
cook's white kitten rolled in her smart blue 
velvet dress a trophy from among the pots 
and pans, and showing too many truces of its 
former playground to deserve its name of 

The calm little Lady Matilda surveyed her 
companion's restless movements with a look of 
mild surprise, glancing up, now and then, from 
a piece of lace-work, on which she was bestow- 

296 MORAG. 

ing great thought and care. Miss Prosser had 
been admiring it greatly ; and commended her 
diligence in a way which reflected somewhat 
on her own pupil's want of that quality, par- 
ticularly as regarded needlework. 

" But what's the use of it ? What do you 
mean to do with it, Matty?" asked Blanche, 
unrolling the elaborate piece of work in 

" My dear Blanche, you are not always so 
practical, I am sure," said Miss Prosser, com- 
ing to the rescue. " Do you not know that it 
is a part of every young lady's education to be 
able to sew fancy work? And, besides, the 
habit of diligence is so good, my dear Blanche ; 
you ought to remember that." 

" Well ; but it seems to me that there is no 
use of some people being diligent about sew- 
ing, at all events. Don't you remember these 
slippers I sewed for papa, Miss Prosser? He 
certainly seemed very much pleased when I 
gave them to him ; and I felt as if I had been 
really useful in having made a pair of shoes; 
and thought it would be so nice to see papa 
going about in shoes of my making. But, not 
long afterwards, I heard him say to somebody 
that he detested sewed slippers, and never 
wore them. I suppose he had forgotten a 1 ! 


about the pair I made for him then, because 
I'm sure he would not have wanted to hurt my 
feelings," added Blanche" pathetically. 

The conversation was here interrupted by 
the servant coining to ask at what hour the 
carriage would be required; and then the. de- 
lightful secret came out at last. Blarche was 
in an ecstacy of delight at the prospect of see- 
ing a pantomime. Some time ago her gover- 
ness would have checked her glee as an unbe- 
coming outburst, but now she hailed it as a 
proof that her little charge was regaining that 
elasticity of spirit which she had somewhat 
lost of late, and she congratulated herself 
on the success of her efforts for her amuse- 

The pantomime that evening was " The 
Babes in the Wood," though it certainly con- 
tained marvellous variations not suggested by 
the old English ballad which it was meant to 
illustrate. In fact the Babes themselves were 
hardly distinguishable, so surrounded were they 
by moving troops of wee green folk, peeping 
out in all directions, and marvellously sus- 
pended from the boughs of trees. Indeed, it 
is doubtful whether the original robins could 
have found a branch throughout the forest to 
hop on so covered were they by dazzling 

298 MO RAG. 

fairies performing all manner of wonderful evo- 
lutions in mid-air. 

Lady Matilda surveyed the marvellous scene 
with considerably more repose of manner than 
her cousin. She was quite an old frequenter 
of such exhibitions, so she was able to compare 
it with yet more gorgeous performances, and to 
feel pretty sure what was coming next. 

But to Blanche, the pantomime had all the 
charm of novelty. She stood entranced, gaz- 
ing at the stage with eager, upturned face. 
More than one frequenter of the theatre ob 
served with amusement the eager little girl, 
who was not content to view the scene from 
her comfortable chair in the box, but kept lean- 
ing forward, in a bewilderment of happiness, 
notwithstanding her cousin's mild suggestions 
that she would be very tired before the end of 
the play if she did not sit down. 

Every scene was more charming and won- 
derful than the one which went before. The 
fun among the wee green folks was getting 
more fast and furious every minute. Blanche 
thought they looked like dragon-flies in the 
sunshine, as they went flitting about. It had 
not occurred to her that they were real flesh 
and blood creatures like herself, till, suddenly, 
one dazzling little elf fell from a giddy height, 


on to the stage. For a moment, Blanche fan- 
cied that the descent of the fairy was all part 
ot the fun ; but presently a shrill cry of human 
piiin, and a few compassionate voices from the 
crowd below, caused her to realize that under- 
neath the mass of gauze and gilt there was a 
poor body in pain. 

In an instant the poor crushed fairy was 
borne away from the bright scene, and the fun 
went on again in mad hurly-burly. But, 
somehow, Blanche's eyes had grown dim, and 
she shrank back on her seat with a shudder. 

" Why, what's the matter, cousin Blanche ? " 
whispered the imperturbable little Lady Matil- 
da, as she surveyed her cousin's movement with 
mild surprise. 

" Oh, didn't you see, Matty ? I'm afraid it 
must be awfully hurt. It fell from such a 
height the fairy, I mean. Didn't you hear 
it cry ? it sounded so dreadful when we were 
al" so happy. I never dreamt they could feel." 

Lady Matilda showed a row of pearly teeth 
as she replied, "Why, yes, of course. How 
odd you are, Blanche. Didn't you know they 
are poor children, who do all this for money ? 
I should think they must be quite used to fall- 
ing by this time." 

Blanche was horror-struck. She tried to 

300 MORAG. 

avert her eyes from the stage, but, in spite of 
herself, she felt her glance riveted on the hov- 
ering fairies, not in delight now, but in terror, 
lest another of them should fall. 

" Little girls who do it for bread," Blanche 
repeated to herself, as she leant back on her 
seat, and covered her face with her hands. 
And as she sat thus, her thoughts went slip- 
ping back to the Highland glen. She remem- 
bered the elfish-looking little form that gazed 
in upon her at the window of the old castle, 
on that autumn morning ; and she shuddered 
to think how, under other circumstances, her 
friend Morag might have been such a victim. 
Then she began to think of the poor fairy ; 
she wondered whether she was dreadfully hurt, 
and resolved that she should beg Miss Prosser 
to make inquiries before they left the theatre. 

It was with a feeling of relief that she saw 
the curtain drop at last, and the people begin 
to move away. Then she made an eager ap- 
peal that they should go and ask after the 
child. The request seemed utterly outrageous 
when first presented to Miss Prosser's mind; 
but Blanche was so urgent that, at last, she 
consented to dispatch the maid to make in- 
quiries behind the scenes. Then Blanche be- 
gan to plead to be allowed to go, too. She 


was so very eager that her governess, at last, 
after many injunctions to the maid, gave a re- 
luctant consent, arranging that she should wait 
in the box with the little Lady Matilda, who 
seemed to view her impetuous cousin's move- 
ments with unfeigned astonishment, not? un- 
mixed with annoyance. 

Blanche was all trembling with excitement 
when the maid took her hand, and they began 
to thread their way through the corridors, which 
were getting emptied now. Presently they 
met a man who was putting out the lights, and 
the maid stopped to ask where they could go to 
inquire after the hurt fairy. Having got direc- 
tions how to proceed, they went on through 
narrower and less luxurious passages so dark 
and dingy-looking that Blanche began to feel 
afraid, and grasped her maid's hand more 
tightly. They came at last to a room, the door 
of which stood half open. They were hesita- 
ting whether this was the room to which they 
had been directed, when they heard a thin, 
feeble voice within, moaning, as if in pain. 

" That's the fairy, I'm sure, Grant," whis- 
pered Blanche, eagerly. " Do just peep in and 

The maid pushed open the door and walked 
a few steps forward. On the floor stood a par- 

302 MO RAG. 

affine lamp which shed a dim light throughout 
the room, showing a heap of matting in the 
corner, where a poor, emaciated child lay. 
Gleaming through the half darkness, Blanche 
could distinguish a pale, sharp, nnchildlike face, 
that rested on a thin shrivelled hand. A 
wretched mud-colored rag seemed to be her 
sole garment ; and, at her side, there stood a 
pair of big boots, or what served for them, but 
they seemed almost detached pieces of leather 
now; besides being of a considerably larger 
size than the wearer would require. Lying on 
a table, in another corner of the room, was the 
gauzy fairy gear, at which Blanche glanced 
sadly, thinking it contrasted strangely with the 
wretched rags for which it had been ex- 

On hearing the sound of footsteps, the child 
started up, and looked wildly round, as she ex- 
claimed, " O mother ! you'll not beat me this 
time ! I'm so bad it's my leg ! Tim said he 
never saw nothing like the fall I got ! Oh, my ! 
it hurts awful ! " and the child began to writhe 
in pain. 

" It is not your mother poor thing ! But 
I daresay your mother will be here before long," 
said the maid, in a compassionate tone, as she 
stooped down to look at the child. 


In a moment, Blanche was kneeling beside 
the heap of matting, her pretty blue opera 
cloak falling on the grimy floor as she took the 
child's little black fingers in her hands, saying, 
eagerly, "O poor, poor fairy! little girl, I 
mean," she added, for she conld not yet divest 
herself of the idea of the gauzy wings and 
woven spangles, " what a dreadful fall you had. 
I'm afraid you must be very much hurt ! " 

The child drew her hand away, and looked 
sharply at Blanche. Presently she nodded, 
saying, "I know; you're the pretty little girl 
what looked so pleased at the pantomime. We 
noticed you Tim and me. Tim's the boy 
what hangs the lamps, you know. He's gone 
to fetch mother; but she aren't a-comin' yet. 
Drinkin' again, most likely she's always at it." 

Just then a loud-voiced, boisterous woman 
came staggering into the room. 

" Well, young 'un, so you've been and gone 
and done it again ! Didn't I tell you to mind 
your feet, you little idiot ! " and the woman, 
stooping down, seized the child and shook her 

" Oh, mother, mother, don't ! I couldn't 
help it, noways my head got so giddy. Oh, 
I'm so bad ! " the weak voice wailed out ; and 
presently the little face got more pale and 

304 MORACr. 

pinched than before, and the poor fairy fainted 

"You've killed her, you have you cruel, 
cruel woman ! How dare you speak so ? " said 
Blanche, quivering with indignation, as she 
sprang to her feet from beside the matting 
where she had been kneeling, and almost sprang 
at the half -tipsy woman. 

" Ho, ho ! pretty bird ; and who may you 
be ? and what's your business, I'd like to know, 
a-comin' between me and my brat ! " shouted 
the woman, folding her arms, and glaring at 
the little girl. 

The maid stepped forward immediately, 
and said, in a quiet, firm tone, " Come, Miss 
Clifford, we must go at once." And then 
turning to the woman, she added, " We merely 
came to make inquiries after the poor child. 
We saw her get a dreadful fall a short time 
ago. I fear she is very much hurt. I really 
think you will do well to look after your child,'' 
added Grant, as she took Blanche's hand, and 
prepared to go. She glanced at the poor fairy, 
who was still lying unconscious, and discover- 
ing a jug of water standing near, the maid 
sprinkled some on the child's face and hands, 
and presently she began to show signs of re- 
turning consciousness. 

BA CK IN L ON DON. 3 05 

" Now. Miss Clifford, we must really go at 
once," whispered the maid to the reluctant 
Blanche. " We've stayed much too long al- 
ready. I don't know what Miss Prosser will 

The woman still stood with folded arms 
gazing, open-mouthed, at the group. Grant 
again pointed to the poor little creature, re- 
minding her that she should look after her child. 
And, at last, after a lingering, pitying glance 
at the poor little cowering fairy in her rags, 
Blanche suffered herself to be led away. 

They found Miss Prosser in a state of great 
anxiety and considerable indignation at their 
delay. The maid explained the matter in a 
few prompt words, while Blanche stood by the 
little Lady Matilda graphically describing the 
sad, disenchanting scene which had followed 
her first visit to the gorgeous fairy pantomime. 

And thus it happened that Miss Prosser's 
well-meant effort for the amusement of her lit- 
tle pupil, ended in Blanche Clifford getting a 
sorrowful glimpse behind the tinsel and the 
glitter, which only served to deepen the 
thoughtful shadow that had, of late, been steal- 
ing across her sunny, childish brow. 


ILAl^CHE'S temporary maid was a very 
silent woman, and was therefore re- 
garded by her little mistress as an 
extremely dull, uninteresting attendant. 
She longed for Ellis's return to her post ; for- 
getting all the passages-at-arms which had taken 
place between them during her reign. And 
especially since the evening at the pantomime, 
she wanted to have somebody to talk to about 
the poor fairy. Grant merely replied to her 
remarks in the briefest possible way ; and 
Blanche decided that she was hard-hearted as 
well as uninteresting, for, if she were not, she 
could not fail to express her sympathy for the 
poor little girl who seemed in such pain, and 
had such a dreadful mother. The remembrance 
of the little pinched face quite haunted her. 
She went over the scene again and again in 
her mind ; and wondered where her home 
was, and what would become of her. Miss 


Prosser assured her that she would certainly 
be taken to the hospital, and very well cared 
for ; but still Blanche was not satisfied. When- 
ever she went out to walk, she looked eagerly, 
among the faces in the crowd, for the face of 
the terrible mother, and she resolved that how- 
ever dreadful she looked, she would go to her 
and inquire about her little girl. 

She sometimes wondered, too, whether the 
poor fairy knew anything about that unseen 
Friend whom, in these last days, she had been 
learning to know and love. It would be such 
a comfort to speak to Him when her mother 
was so wicked and so cruel, Blanche thought, 
and she did not forget to ask the Lord Jesus 
Christ to make the poor, bruised fairy well 
again, and to soften her mother's hard heart. 

One day, in particular, she had been think- 
ing a great deal about the fairy; and, in the 
evening, after she was comfortably tucked into 
bed, her maid still lingered with the candle in 
her hand, as if she had something that she 
wanted to say. 

"I've been to see a little girl, to-day, who 
has not such a comfortable bed as you have, 
Miss Clifford, though her poor little bones 
need it sore enough." 

" Ah ! have you, Grant ? " replied Blanche, 

308 MORAG. 

sitting up in bed, in a listening attitude. " Do 
toll me about her. Who is she, and how did 
you come to know her ? Is she as poor and 
pinched-looking as the fairy, do you think ? " 

" She is the fairy, Miss Blanche the poor 
little thing we saw at the pantomime." 

" O Grant, you don't mean to say so ! Have 
you really found her out ? I'm so very, very 
glad. It's what I've been longing to do. Where 
does she live, and was she very much hurt ? 
You must take me to see her ; indeed you 
must, Grant. Do tell me all about it before 
you go." 

The maid then narrated how, the day be- 
fore, she chanced to meet the terrible moth- 
er, in company with another woman, some- 
what less tipsy than she, and able to give Grant 
the information she required concerning the 
poor child, who, from her account, was still 
very ill and very destitute. Grant went imme- 
diately, in the mother's absence, and saw the 
little girl in her wretched home. Her leg ap- 
peared to have been very badly hurt ; the doc- 
tor, whom a kind neighbor had once brought 
to see her, said that she would always be lame, 
and the child's chief regret seemed to be that 
she would never be able to act at the pantomime 
any more. 


Blanche listened eagerly to all the informa- 
tion Grant had to give, and before she went 
to sleep that night was plotting and planning 
how she could accomplish a visit to the fairy's 

Next day, when Miss Prosser announced 
that she would dine out in the evening, and 
had made arrangements for Grant to sit in the 
schoolroom with her pupil, Blanche looked up- 
on the circumstance as the most delightful op- 
tunity for carrying out her plan. Her governess 
very rarely made engagements for the evening, 
or left her pupil to her own devices ; so it seemed 
to Blanche the rarest piece of good luck that 
she should be going out to-night. She knew 
very well that Miss Prosser would not give 
her sanction to a visit to the wretched little 
girl ; and though Blanche felt doubtful whether 
she was doing right in thus taking advantage 
of her governess' absence, she was so bent upon 
seeing the fairy again, that she tried only to 
look at her own side of the question. 

She, did not divulge her plan to Grant till 
Miss Prosser was fairly gone, and then she 
brought all her coaxing artillery to bear on the 
maid, who at last reluctantly yielded to her 
self-willed little mistress. 

It was quite a new experience for Blanche 

310 MO RAG. 

to find herself out walking after dark. As she 


linked her arm into her maid's, and they be- 
gan to thread their way along the lamp-lit 
streets, Blanche felt somewhat of the feeling 
of adventure which she had on that autumn 
morning at Glen Eagle, when she found her- 
self alone in the fir-forest. And there was a 
strange resemblance" between the occasions in 
another way, though Blanche did not know it. 
On that morning she went, unconscious of it 
though she was, to bring life and love and 
hope into the heart of the lonely little maiden 
who leant against one of the old fir-trees. 
And, to-night, she was going on a similar mis 
sion not along the pleasant roads of Strath 
eagle in a sunshiny morning, but through a 
dreary November drizzle to a wretched haunt 
of misery, where a poor little desolate heart 
sorely needed some ministry of love. 

Strange to say, the wretched cellar in the 
narrow court was not so far distant from Mr. 
Clifford's stately mansion as might have been 
expected, so Blanche and her guide were not 
long in reaching the fairy's home. 

After going down a flight of steps, Grant 
led the way to a dreary room. Opening the 
door quietly, Blanche peeped cautiously in. The 
poor child lay on a heap of straw. When the 



door opened, she raised her head and eagerly 
scanned the visitors. Evidently recognizing 
Blanche, she fixed her sharp, unchildlike eyes 
on her, saying, in her shrill voice, " Have you 
been to it again? Aren't it a pretty panto- 
mime? You seemed much 'appier than that 
t'other 'un. We noticed you. I wish I was 
there, I do. It's wery dull a-lyin' here. 
Tim's never looked near, neither." Then, 
turning to the maid, she said, in her sharp, 
querulous tone, "Well, s' pose you've brought 
me a bit of somethink to eat. You said you 
would, mind ! " 

Blanche felt rather repulsed, but she has- 
tened to uncover a dish of fruit which Grant 
had placed upon a stool near her, and handed 
some to the little girl, who seized it eagerly, 
saying, "I haven't tasted nothink since last 
night seen nobody she's been at it again, 
drinkin' dreadful. And what made a pretty, 
fine lady like you come to see me ? " she asked, 
turning to survey Blanche more closely when 
her hunger was somewhat appeased. " 'Ave 
you got anythink else for 'un ? " 

"O poor fairy! I'm so sorry for you. I 
came to see you because I was. I have thought 
so much about you since that evening at the 
pantomime, and I was so very glad when 

312 MORAG. 

Grant told me she had found your home," 
said Blanche, kneeling down beside the child 
and taking the little thin fingers into her 
hand. The little girl glanced rather suspi- 
ciously at Blanche, who, while Grant went to 
unfold a warm blanket she had brought, came 
closer and whispered .in a low, nervous tone, 
" And I came to see you besides, fairy, be- 
cause I wanted so very much to tell you 
about a good Lord Jesus, who, I'm sure, loves 
you, and will be very kind to you. Indeed 
it's only quite lately I've come really to know 
Him, myself. But I'm sure He loves you very 
much even now, and would be such a kind 
Friend for you to have." 

"Don't b'lieve it," replied the fairy, as 
she drew her hand away, which Blanche had 
been stroking. "We see lots on 'em Tim 
and me at the pantomime. Most likely seed 
this 'un. They never give us a fardin, though 
we sometimes beg for somethink when they're 
a-comin' out of the play. But we're forbid 
to, you know," she added, nodding and wink- 
ing as she glanced at Blanche's earnest face. 

" Oh ! but indeed, fairy, you are quite 
mistaken. You couldn't possibly see him at the 
pantomime. He is not to be seen anywhere 
at all in the world now. But though we can't 


Bee Him, He lives still, and hears us when we 
speak to Him and loves us so much, in- 
deed He does." 

" Don't b'lieve it. Tim says them kind 
hates poor folks, and that he'd choke 'em if 
he could and 'opes he'll have the chance 
some day." 

" Oil ! but, indeed, fairy, the Lord Jesus 
Christ does not hate anybody," gasped Blanche. 
"I know He loves everybody, and just died 
on the cross a very cruel, dreadful death be- 
cause He loved people so much. And, indeed, 
I think He cares especially for poor, sick, sad 
people, who want a friend." 

A look of interest seemed to come into 
the little pinched face, and Blanche felt en- 
couraged, and continued, in a pleading tone 
" And do you know, fairy, if you were to 
ask Him for anything, He will really hear you, 
though you cannot see him standing there 
listening. I know an old woman, and a little 
girl not much older than you, and they both 
love the Lord Jesus Christ so much, and speak 
to Him a great deal. And I do, too ; but 
I've only begun a little while ago. But I'm 
quite sure He does hear us and help us too," 
said Blanche earnestly. Her faith in the Sa- 
viour seeming to grow stronger every moment 

314 MORAG. 

as she gazed on this lost child whom He had 
come to seek and to save. 

" He'd give a body somethink, you say," 
said the fairy presently, looking sharply at 
Blanche with her cunning eyes, after she had 
thought over her words for a little. 

" Well now, lady, I say it's a shabby trick 
of the likes of you, as has lots of nice things, to 
be goin' beggin'. Look 'ere, if He be as good 
as you say, just you tell Him I 'm a-lyin' here 
wery bad and all about it, you know. And 
ask somethink a trifle, you know, to begin 
with," added the child, winking knowingly, as 
<she stuck her tongue into the corner of her 
mouth, and looked into Blanche's face to see 
what impression this practical proposal made. 
" Look 'ere, now ; you see how wery bad I 
want a dress and there's my boots won't stick 
to my feet no ways." 

Blanche felt sorely discouraged. She saw 
that she had evidently not been able to impart 
to this dark soul a glimmering of what the Lord 
Jesus Christ came to do. She did want so very 
much to make the little girl understand what a 
real helper and friend He was ; but she felt as 
if she had only brought confusion into the poor 
child's mind, and failed to represent the Saviour 
as anything more than a bountiful alms-giver. 


It must be her fault that she could not make it 
plainer, Blanche thought ; and in her perplex- 
ity, she lifted up her heart to Him who turneth 
men's hearts as rivers of waters, whither He 
will, and asked that His life and light and love 
might penetrate the poor fairy's darkened soul. 

Blanche Clifford rose from her knees from 
beside the straw pallet with a very despondent 
feeling ; but though she did not know it, her 
prayer of faith was of better service to the lit- 
tle girl than her clearest teaching or most elo- 
quently spoken words. 

" We must really go now, Miss Blanche," 
whispered the maid. " I 'm afraid of your 
standing in this damp place any longer. And 
it's getting very late, besides. Do come now, 
Miss Clifford." 

Blanche made a gesture of impatience ; but 
she quickly remembered that she had prom- 
ised Grant she would leave whenever she was 
asked, and so she prepared to go without fur- 
ther remonstrance. 

" Good-bye, fairy. I'm so sorry I have to 
go now. But I '11 try to come to see you again, 
one day very soon. And 1 shall not forget to 
ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come to you, and 
"to love you and teach you Himself, and give 
you everything that you need." ' 

316 MORAG. 

"Will you, though?" replied the child, 
looking keenly at Blanche's earnest, guileless 
face. " Don't want no teachin' much dread- 
ful bad for the dress and boots, though ; '' and 
then she added, with a softer expression on her 
face than Blanche observed before, " You're a 
nice, pretty little thing. I likes you." Then 
after a pause she continued, in a reckless tone, 
" Don't b'lieve you'll come again, nor send 
Him neither, though. Nobody never keeps no 
promises. Tim hasn't ; he's never looked 

" Well, fairy, I know one Person who does 
keep promises, at any rate," said Blanche, smi- 

" I don't," nodded the child, decisively. 
" P'rhaps you keeps your promises. You do 
look a nice little thing," she added, putting out 
her thin fingers, and taking hold of Blanche's 
dress in a caressing way. 

" No, fairy ; I'm sure I don't always keep 
my promises. It's the Lord Jesus Christ I 
mean. I've just been trying to remember one 
of His promises to tell you, and I've found one 
it's this, ' I will give you a new heart.' Will 
you try to remember to ask Him for that ? 
do, dear fairy." 

" A new 'art. Well, did I ever as if I 


wasn't needin' a new dress a great sight more ; " 
and the child threw herself back among the 
straw, and laughed shrilly. 

Grant had gone to the door to try and open 
it in the absence of a handle, which had been 
wrenched off, and Blanche took the oppor- 
tunity to whisper, " I know you need a new 
dress very much, poor fairy ; and perhaps 
He'll give you that, too. But will you ask 
Him quite low, if you like just when you 
are lying here all by yourself to give you a 
new heart ? That means to make you good 
and happy always, you know. He does really 
hear, though you cannot see Him. "Will you 
not try, fairy ? " 

" Don't mind though I do. Nothink else 
to do lyin' here. I'm to ask a new 'art, you 
say, just as if I was a-beggin' from a gintle- 
inan on the street, I s'pose ? I know," said the 
child, with a nod. " Look, she's waitin' for 
you got the door open. Now, see you ax 
Him for the dress and boots." 



|KE result of Blanche Clifford's visit to 
the pantomime-fairy's home was a bad 
cold, which showed itself next morning. 
The maid immediately explained its 
probable cause to Miss Prosser, taking the sole 
blrtme on herself for having allowed the visit. 
But Blanche presently gave her account of the 
matter, which represented herself as the sole 
culprit ; so the governess felt doubtful who 
she should blame, and finally ended by scold- 
ing nobody. She listened with interest to the 
sequel of the pantomime scene, as Blanche 
gave some passages from her visit to the poor 
child, pleading that Grant might be sent with 
some needful comforts to the wretched home. 
Miss Prosser readily consented; she also set 
about making arrangements to have the child 
taken to the Sick Children's Hospital, and com- 
missioned Grant to try to find the mother, and 
gain her consent to having her removed. 

Blanche felt rather reproached when she 


remembered how quickly she had concluded 
that her governess would not sympathize with 
her interest in the lame fairy, after she found 
how heartily she entered into all her plans for 
helping her. 

Throughout the day she was kept a prisoner 
in her room because of her cold a state of 
matters which she generally resented greatly ; 
but to-day she felt quite happy and busy, as 
she helped to fill a box which was to be taken 
by Grant to the fairy's home. Blanche did not 
forget the special request which the fairy beg- 
ged to have made for her, though neither dress 
nor boots were sent in the box that morning. 
And before she went to bed that night, Blanche 
smiled as she drew out her own private purse 
to see how much pocket-money was left, for 
she thought she knew what she would like to 
do with it. 

" How much does it cost to buy cloth for a 
dress, Grant not a silk dress, you know, or 
anything of that kind, but some nice warm 
cloth ? " asked Blanche, nervously handling the 
two gold pieces which were left in her purse. 

"Well, that depends, Miss Clifford. Of 
course it takes more for a grown-up person 
than for a child," replied the maid, who stood 
brushing Blanche's long curls. 

320 MO RAG. 

"I wish I hadn't bought those love-birds, 
Grant. I shall get no inore money till Christ- 
mas, you see ; and I do so want to buy a nice 
warm dress for the poor fairy." 

" But I daresay Miss Prosser will allow you 
to give her one of your own old dresses, Miss 
Blanche. I am sure there are plenty of them 
folded away up-stairs that you will never wear 

" Oh yes, I daresay ; and perhaps, after- 
wards, she may get some of them. But this 
once I should like to get her quite a new dress 
bought and made all for herself, you know. 
You would shape it, would you not, Grant? 
And, do you know, I want to sew it all myself 
every bit of it," added Blanche, in a confi- 
dential tone. " I daresay I might have it fin- 
ished before the poor fairy is able to be out 
again, if I were only to work very hard. Don't 
you think so, Grant ? " 

Next day Miss Prosser was consulted and 
gave her consent, though she thought it, 
seemed rather an odd idea; and laughingly 
remarked to the maid that she might quite 
count upon having to finish the garment, as 
Miss Clifford had never been known to hem 
half a pocket-handkerchief in her life. But 
it might amuse her while her cold lasted ; so 


Grant was commissioned to get a selection of 
suitable patterns of cloth, from which Blanche 
selected a warm blue woollen serge. Then 
she was all impatience till the initiatory stages 
of shaping should be gone through, and she 
should begin to sew. 

Such a diligent little woman she looked, as 
she sat stitching away, her fingers all stained 
with the blue dye, and, all the while, planning 
a similar garment for Morag, as a Christinas 
present. She was still confined to her room 
because of her cold; and there she sat, hour 
after hour, with her head bent over her work, 
sewing so unweariedly that Miss Prosser felt 
obliged at length to remonstrate, suggesting 
that she should betake herself to some amuse- 
ment now, while commending her for her dil- 
igence. Knowing well Blanche's dislike to 
sewing of any kind, her governess was sur- 
prised to see such devotion to a piece of nee- 
dle-work which did not seem very necessary, 
and looked most unattractive ; for Blanche had 
not explained why she was so anxious that the 
fairy should receive quite a new dress, made 
all for herself. 

But as Miss Prosser looked at the flushed, 
eager little face, bending over the rough piece 
of work with such diligence and interest, it 

322 MORAG. 

gave her a key to her pupil which had been 
missing before ; and she recognized a motive 
power which might prove a better thing than 
a love for fancy work, and could transform the 
impulsive, pleasure-loving Blanche into a brave, 
ministering woman. 

The next day Blanche received the delight- 
ful and unexpected tidings that her father 
would return home on the following evening. 
She had not seen him since that eventful morn- 
ing on which she left Glen Eagle, and he had 
stood waving a- cheerful farewell in the old 
court-yard of the castle when she was so very 

Mr. Clifford intended to have followed his 
daughter shortly afterwards, but changing his 
plans, he went on a tour abroad with some 
friends. He had not meant to return to Lon- 
don till spring, so his coming was a delightful 
surprise for Blanche. 

Her father so rarely lived for any length of 
time at home, that she had become so far accus- 
tomed to his absence ; but to have him for a 
little \vhile was an intense pleasure to be 
made the most of while the visit lasted ; and 
Blanche built many castles in the air about the 
pleasant Christmas time there could not fail 
to be when her papa was to be with her. But 


instead of flitting about in a state of absolute 
idleness, which Miss Prosser, described as her 
usual practice, when there was any pleasant 
event in prospect, Blanche stitched her happy 
thoughts into the fairy's half finished garment, 
which grew rapidly under her diligent fingers ; 
only laying it aside in time to prepare to wel- 
come her father. 

" Why, pussy, how brilliant you look ; not 
even the breezes of Strath eagle gave you peo- 
nies like these," said Mr. Clifford, as he looked 
fondly at his little daughter, who clung to his 
arm with a radiant face, as they mounted the 
broad staircase to the drawing-room together, 
after he had divested himself of his travelling 

" How do you do, Miss Prosser ? T must 
really congratulate you on your pupil's appear- 
ance," said the master of the house, as he 
walked into the drawing-room, and shook hands 
with the governess. 

Blanche presently darted off to inform Grant 
that her papa was really come, and was at this 
moment talking to Miss Prosser in the draw- 
ing-room, where it might be possible to have 
a peep at him through the open door. She 
looked upon it as a great privation for Grant 
never to have seen her papa, and took for 

324 MO RAG. 

granted that her maid would be full cf im 
patience to do so. 

"Why, Blanche, how you've grown, my 
child ! " exclaimed Mr. Clifford, surveying her 
as she re-entered the room, while he stood 
wanning himself by the fire. " I declare you 
will soon arrive at the blissful long-dress period 
that has been your ambition for so long. Now 
come and tell me what mischief you have 
been about since I saw you last, pussy ! Let 
me see, where was that ? Ah yes, I remem- 
ber not since that morning you and Miss 
Prosser left Glen Eagle. And have you quite 
forgotten that little wild woman of the woods 
what's her name, eh, Blanchie ? " 

Mr. Clifford noticed that the peony cheek 
flushed even a deeper red as Blanche replied, 
" .No, papa ; I shall never forget Morag as long 
as I live. I don't see how I ever could. We 
shall go back again to Glen Eagle next autumn, 
shan't we, papa ? " 

" Oh yes ; of course. I have taken the 
shooting for three years. It's a first-rate place. 
And so you would actually like to go back to 
Glen Eagk>, Blanchie ? Did you not find it 
very dull sometimes away among the hills 
confess now ? " 

" Oh no, papa ; indeed I didn't find it dull 


not near so dull as here. I don't see how 
I could ever feel dull at Glen Eagle/' said 
Blanche, decidedly ; and then she added, "Well, 
perhaps if Kirsty and Morag were both away 
from the Glen, and Shag could not be found 
to ride about on, then it might be rather sad ; 
because, you see, the fir-wood and all the othei 
places would remind me of them. It would be 
too sad to see the hut without Morag living 
there," said Blanche, dreamily, as she thought 
of the empty room which she saw on the 
morning she left the Glen, and of how 
eagerly she had searched for her missing 
friend. " And how Kirsty's cottage would look 
without her, I cannot imagine. But do you 
know, papa, I actually dreamt last night that I 
went to see her, and she was not to be found, 
and her old arm-chair was empty, and the 
nice, cheery fire cold and black. It was so nice 
to wake and find it was only a dream, after 
all ! " added Blanche, with a sigh of relief. 

" Well, I don't think either of your friends 
have migratory habits ; so you are likely to 
find them among their native heather next 
year. By the way, Blancliie, you must send a 
Christmas box of presents to your friends there. 
You may fill it with whatever you like best ; 
but only do keep a corner for me. I want to send 

326 MO RAG. 

some present to the boy who fished you out of 
the loch Kenneth isn't that his name ? Do 
you remember that adventure, and how you 
frightened us all, you troublesome young per- 
son ? By the way, I arranged lefore I left 
Glen Eagle that Dingwall is to train the boy 
for a gamekeeper, seeing that appears to be 
what he has set his heart on." 

Before many minutes had elapsed, Blanche's 
lively imagination had filled a box of such prob- 
able dimensions that her father laughingly as- 
sured her it would be much too heavy to be 
carried up the hill to the little shieling among 
the crags. 

Presently the little girl fell into one of her 
meditative moods, saying at last, with a sigh, 
" Well, papa, I daresay Morag and Kirsty will 
be very pleased to get the box of things, and 
think it very kind and all that ; but though 
Kirsty and Morag are so poor, I really do not 
think they ever seem to be anxious for any- 
thing they have not got. I was just remem- 
bering how Kirsty one day said to me, in that 
nice, queer accent of hers, ' Bairn,' she often 
called me that ' a man's life consisteth not in 
the abundance of the things he has.' I can't 
remember exactly what we were talking about 
at the time." 


" Upon ray word she must be quite a phil- 
osopher, this wonderful Kirsty ! " said Mr. Clif- 
ford, laughingly, as he stroked Blanche's curls. 

"No, papa; I don't fancy she is learned 
enough for that ; but I am sure she is a Chris- 
tian, and is that not better, papa ? " 

" Ah, I'm afraid we are getting beyond our 
depth now, pussy. Come, little kittens should 
not look grave," he added, for Blanche had a 
dreamy look in her eyes which h& did not care 
to see. 

She was thinking of the poor fairy who was 
so greedy as well as so needy ; and presently 
she began to tell her papa a little about her, and 
how she had gone to see her in her wretched 
home. She told him, too, that she was making 
a dress for her really of her own sewing ; and, 
taking for granted that her papa would be much 
interested in the garment, she brought it for 
his inspection. But she did not tell him why 
she was so very anxious to make it for her, 
nor that it was meant to be, perhaps, the first 
token recognized by the poor fairy's dark soul 
of that Love which " passeth knowledge." 

The father and daughter spent some very 
happy hours together on this first evening of 
their reunion. And as Mr. Clifford walked up 
and down the drawing-room, after Blanche ha 1 

328 MORAG. 

left for the night, his thoughts dwelt with a 
new joy and hope on the only child of his house, 
whose birth had left his home so desolate. He 
remembered with what a sad heart he took for 
the first time the motherless babe into his arms, 
and what a sorrowful welcome he could only 
give to her. And now he thought with pride 
of what a sweet child-woman she had grown, 
how much she seemed to have deepened lately, 
and what a beautiful woman she promised to 
be ! Mr. Clifford smiled to think of the time 
when her school-room days would be at an end, 
and she would make her entrance into society 
to be his companion ; and he felt as if life were 
opening pleasanter vistas before his eyes than it 
had done for many a day. 

The next morning was bright and pleasant 
for December ; and, to Blanche's great delight, 
Mr. Clifford proposed that she should have a 
holiday in honor of his return, and go some- 
where with him. After some deliberation, 
Blanche decided that the most pleasant way to 
spend the morning would be to go for a ride 
in the Park with her papa. 

The stately bay stood at the door at the 
hour appointed, but instead of the little brown 
Shag, the pretty white pony Neige awaited his 
mistress. Blanche had not felt so happy since 


she left the Highland strath as she did when she 
found herself riding by her father's side. The 
yellow fogs had quite withdrawn themselves; 
the air was keen and bracing now, and the sun 
shone brightly on the winter landscape. The 
" Row" was gay with riders and the drive with 
carriages, taking advantage of this rare Decem- 
ber day, and the horses' hoofs rattled pleasantly 
along the crisp, frosty ground. 

More than one passer-by glanced at the 
pleasant-looking pair of riders as they can- 
tered along in the sunshine Blanche prattling 
to her papa with gay, upturned face, her long 
fair curls floating about, and her pretty blue 
habit forming a contrast to Neige's snowy 
back, while her father glanced down at her 
with fondness and pride reflected on his hand- 
some face. 

On they rode, fast and far; for the day 
was bright and their spirits were high. At 
last Mr. Clifford reined his horse, and sug- 
gested that they should turn homewards. 

" Now, pussy, you do purr so delightfully, 
and we have had such a pleasant ride, that 
I think we shall beg Miss Prosser for a holi- 
day every bright day. Wouldn't that be a 
delightful arrangement, Blanchie ? " 

" It would be very nice, papa. But, per- 

330 MO RAG. 

haps, there may be no more bright days as 
long as winter lasts," said Blanche, taking a 
more desponding view of things than she gen- 
erally was apt to do. 

They had now reached home. Mr. Clifford 
dismounted, and lifted his little daughter from 
her saddle. 

" You are looking tired, Blanche, darling. 
I am afraid we have rather overdone it to-day. 
I quite forgot that it was so long since you 
had ridden before. How pale you are, child ! 
what is the matter ? " said Mr. Clifford in a 
startled tone, as he looked at Blanche. 

"I do feel rather queer, papa," replied 
Blanche, faintly, as she staggered and leaned 
against her father for support. 

Lifting her in his arms, Mr. Clifford car 
ried her up the broad stone steps to the hall 
door, and hurying into the library, laid her 
gently down on one of the couches. 

Hardly had he laid her there when she be- 
came deathly pale, and presently a sudden 
crimson flow came from her white lips, stain- 
ing her blanched cheek and fair clustering 
curls, and Blanche Clifford fainted away ! 


R. CLIFFORD again walked up and 
down his empty drawing-room where 
only the evening before he had been 
weaving such a bright future for him- 
self in the companionship of his child ; and now 
the doctors had just left him with the terrible 
decision ringing in his ears that she was dy- 
ing! It might be weeks, and even months; 
but the fragile frame could not long resist the 
disease that had been stealthily doing its deadly 
work for many weeks. 

Blanche, the pride of his heart, the heir to 
his fortune, was passing away from him ! Cov- 
ering his face with his hands, the poor father 
seated himself on the couch where only a few 
hours before the bright face had been gazing 
into his, and the merry laugh re-echoing 
through the now silent, deserted room. 

Blanche lay pale and feeble in her darkened 
chamber, while servants flitted about, whisper- 

332 MORAG. 

ing and ministering, and Miss Prosser sat tear- 
fully by the bedside. 

At length the closed drawing-room door 
opened, and the poor, grief-stricken father 
stood beside his child. They might leave him 
he would stay and watch to-night, he said 
huskily, as he seated himself beside the bed. 
Blanche had hardly spoken since she had been 
taken ill ; but the sound of her father's voice 
seemed to rouse her, and, opening her eyes, she 
welcomed him with her old sunny smile. 

" O papa, dear, is that you ? It seems such 
an age since I saw you. I must have been 
sleeping all day long. I was so tired. I think 
we did go too far, to-day ; but it was so nice, 
and I did not feel at all tired at the time. But 
I shall be all right to-rnorrow, I'm sure." 

"I hope so", my darling! " said her father, 
as he kissed the uplifted face, and stroked the 
curls sadly. 

" This is good-night, I suppose, papa ? I 
have been sleeping so much that I have actu- 
ally no idea what o'clock it is," said Blanche, 

Mr. Clifford told her it was quite bed-time 
now ; and when she turned to sleep again, he 
took his seat quietly beside the chintz-curtained 
little bed, promising to relinquish it towards 


morning to Miss Prosser, who, tearful and anx- 
ious, begged to have a share of the watching. 

"When all was silent in the room except the 
flickering fire, and Mr. Clifford sat sad and 
anxious at his unwonted duty, Blanche seemed 
to get wakeful again, and presently low tones 
reached his ear, meant only for the unseen 
Friend whom his little girl had in these last 
days been learning to know and love. 

Feebly and tremulously she whispered, as 
she sat up in bed, reverently covering her face 
with her hands " O Lord Jesus Christ, I am 
so tired to-night, I can't remember all I want 
to say. But, long ago, upon earth you used to 
know what people needed before they ever 
asked, and I am sure you do still. Do teach 
the poor sick fairy all about Thyself. I didn't 
seem to be able to make her understand about 
you ; and she needs a Friend so very much. 
Bless my own dear papa. Make him so happy 
here in London that he will never think of 
going away again. I am sure you must love 
him, and he must love Thee; but, O Lord 
Jesus Christ, I would like him to speak about 
Thee, sometimes, as Kirsty used to do. 

" Help me to be good, to do everything 
that pleases The, so that Thou may never 
turn away sorrowfully from me, as you used to 

334 MO RAG. 

do long ago when people would not follow 
Thee ; " and as she prayed, Blanche fell asleep 
again, and all was silent. 

Mr. Clifford had been listening to his 
child's words with bowed head and shamed 
heart. He felt that he was one of those from 
whom the Saviour must have turned away 
sorrowfully many a time. Through many 
lands and in many ways he had sought rest 
and solace, forgetting that the heart which 
God has made for Himself can only find rest in 
Him. And his little daughter seemed to have 
sought and found this satisfying portion which 
he had been seeking vainly. When her earthly 
father and mother had forsaken her, then the 
Lord had taken her up; and now He was, 
perhaps, going to take her to Himself, though 
she did not know it. 

Kneeling beside her bed, Mr. Clifford 
prayed that God would pardon the wasted, 
sinful past, and would give him back his child, 
so that, together, they might tread the heaven- 
ward path ! 

When Miss Prosser appeared to claim her 
share of the vigil, Blanche was sleeping so 
soundly that any watching seemed almost 
unnecessary. And in the morning she looked 
so bright, though pale and fragile, that the 


anxious faces round her caught the infectious 
brightness, and the gloomy forebodings of the 
previous day seemed already to belong to the 

As the days went by, Blanche appeared 
really to gain strength ; and although there 
was still much cause for anxiety regarding her 
health, there seemed some reason to hope that 
the fatal issue might yet be warded off. 

Mr. Clifford spent much of his time in his 
daughter's sick-room. And during these De- 
cember days, as he sat by his daughter's couch, 
he listened with mingled feelings to many a 
childish tale of joy and grief that had marked 
the years in which he had borne no part. 

And so it happened that these days of ill- 
ness became days of intense enjoyment to 
Blanche. Ellis had returned to her post, and 
Blanche confided to her that it was really quite 
worth while being ill, and having to take all 
those nasty medicines, to have her papa all to 
herself for so many days. 

The poor fairy was now comfortably housed 
in the Hospital for Sick Children, and Blanche 
looked forward to being able to pay her a visit 
there, one day before long. The half-finished 
dress was again taken from the drawer, where 
it had been sorrowfully laid by Grant on the 

336 MO RAG. 

day Blanche was taken ill; and now the lit- 
tle fingers were busy at work again, though 
they looked pale and feeble enough, Mr. Clif- 
ford thought, as he watched them, all stained 
with blue dye, putting the finishing stitches 
into the fairy's promised garment. 

Blanche pleaded very hard that morning to 
be allowed to sew ; and notwithstanding Miss 
Prosser's remonstrances, and her papa's joke 
about the ponderous piece of work which she 
had undertaken, she worked on, till at last, 
with a wearied smile, she held out the finished 
dress for her papa's inspection. 

" Look now, papa it is finished ! I have 
really put in the last stitch. I am so very glad 
I have been able. I felt as if I could do it to- 
day, somehow, and that was what made me so 
anxious to try, though Miss Prosser was so un- 
willing I should ; but I don't think it has hurt 
me at all." 

" Why, Blanchie, it is the most wonderful 
work of art imaginable. I must really put in 
my claim for a greatcoat next. The doctor 
says you may have a drive to-morrow, if it is 
fine, and we will go to the Hospital ; and you 
shall introduce me to the fairy, and present the 

" I hope I shall be able to go, papa. But 


it will he sent whether I am or not, won't it ? 
I think the fairy will understand why I want- 
ed so much to send it. I am so glad it is fin- 
ished," she added, with a wearied sigh, as she 
laid the dress on a chair, and went to lie on 
the sofa, which she rarely did of her own ac- 

Mr. Clifford made no remark, but, as he 
glanced at her anxiously from under his news- 
paper, he could not help noticing, as she lay 
quietly there, that the little face looked worn 
and the outline of the cheek sharper than hith- 
erto. She lay with her eyes shut for some 
time, and presently she said, in a low, firm 
tone, as she looked up 

" Papa, dear, come to me, I want to speak 
to you." 

Mr. Clifford was not a nervous man, but 
his hand shook as he laid down his newspaper 
and went to his daughter's side, for there was a 
foreboding of trouble in his heart. 

Her arm was round his neck, but she did 
not see his face as she said, softly 

" Do you know, papa, it makes me very 
sad, as well as glad, to look at that finished 
piece of work. Shall I tell you why ? It seems 
to me it is the very first useful thing I have 
ever done in my life ; and papa, dear, do you 

338 MO RAG. 

know it will be the last '{ " and the blue-stained 
fingers played nervously with her father's hand 
as she spoke. 

Mr Clifford was going to interrupt her, but 
Blanche went on 

" Yes, papa ; I know. I have known it for 
two days now. I'll tell you how I came to 
know. I overheard Ellis telling somebody 
that the doctor said I was dying. Dear, 
kind Ellis ; I'm sure she would be sorry if she 
knew I heard that ; but she must not be told. 
I am so glad that I do know just a little be- 
fore, though it did make me feel very sad at 
first. Indeed, I cried the whole night in the 
dark, papa ; but now I feel as if it were all 
right. And I don't think I'm afraid to die 
now, as I should have been when I fell into 
the loch," she added, in a faltering tone. 

" My darling, you must not talk so. And, 
besides, Ellis was not correct. You have been 
very ill, but the doctor thinks you are much 
better now ; and when spring days come, my 
little Blanche will blossom again with the flow- 

" No, papa dear ; I don't really think I am 
better. I shall never get well again, I know. 
But, as I lay here, I was thinking how sad it 
seemed to go away from the world without 


having been of any use to anybody. And 
just lately, too, I have seemed to understand 
better what life was meant for, and to be inter- 
ested in things I used not to care about. Do 
you know why I was so anxious to make the 
dress for the poor lame fairy, papa? I think 
I should like to tell you," and some of her 
old brightness returned as she told the story of 
her visit to the poor child in the comfortless 
abode. " She was so sad and poor that I felt 
sure she would be glad to hear about the Lord 
Jesus Christ. Wouldn't you have thought so, 
papa ? But she did not seem to care, nor to 
believe that He loved her at all. At last she 
said that if lie were to send her a new dress 
and boots, she might believe He was good and 
kind. But I am afraid I was not able to make 
her understand about the Lord Jesus Christ. 
I wonder how I can best tell her about Him, 
papa ? if I am able to go to see her again be- 
fore " and Blanche's voice faltered. 

" My own darling ! you must not speak so ! 
You must try to get well, for my sake, Blanchie. 
What should papa do without his little girl? 
And I am afraid I 'do not know the Lord Je- 
sus Christ really any more than the poor pan- 
tomime .airy ! You must stay with me, my 
child, and we will seek Him together ! " 

340 MORAG. 

" Dearest papa, He does teach people so 
wonderfully ; I am sure He will teach you to 
know and love Him. But I thought you 
must surely have loved the Lord Jesus Christ 
ever so long ago," said Blanche, musingly, 
and then she lay silent for several minutes. 

Presently she turned to her father, with a 
face full of love and pity, and laying her thin 
fluttering fingers on his arms, she said, " Papa, 
dear, you will take Him for your friend now, 
will you not ? and He will come and be very 
near you when I am far away. Kirsty says 
He was such a friend to her when she was 
left sad and lonely in her cottage" and w T ith 
the mention of Kirsty's name there came a rush 
of memories that made Blanche's eyes till with 

Her father noticed it, and a pang of jeal- 
ousy shot through his heart. She had spoken 
such sad words, calm and tearless; and it 
seemed hard that the thought of those peasant 
friends, whom she might see no more on earth, 
should be a sharper sorrow to the child's heart 
than the parting from himself. 

And so far he judged truly. Blanche loved 
her father dearly, but she did not guess how 
great was his love for her, nor how shadowed 
his life would be if she were gone. 


As she gazed at the bowed head beside her, 
Blanche realized for the first time how great 
and terrible the coming sorrow was to her 
father, and she began to understand how true 
it is that in the partings of life " theirs is the 
bitterness who stay behind." 

The exertion of talking seemed to have 
been too much for the fragile frame. Pres- 
ently a violent fit of coughing came on, and 
again that terrible crimson flow streamed from 
the white lips and on the deathly face ! 

The winter storm had now set in, and the 
weather was cold and dark and cheerless ; but 
the interior of Blanche's room looked warm 
and bright as Mr. Clifford walked into it, on 
his return from his lonely ride. 

On the floor there lay strewed the Christ- 
mas gifts for Glen Eagle, and from her sofa 
Blanche was having an inspection of them 
before they were sent away. Ellis was doing 
duty as show-woman ; and Blanche's old glee- 
ful laugh, which had become a rare sound now, 
was heard occasionally as" she listened to her 
maid's remarks concerning the various beau- 
tiful presents, as she held them up for inspec- 

Welcoming her papa with the old bright 

342 MO RAG. 

smile, Blanche beckoned him to come and see 
the nice fur footstool which Miss Prosser had 
that morning bought for Kirsty's cottage. 

Mr. Clifford looked very sad as he came 
forward and took his place by his daughter's 
couch. He could not help contrasting the pale 
fragile form lying there, with the ringing child- 
ish laugh, which caused him almost to forget, for 
the moment, the sad reality which these weeks 
had brought. 

Blanche's quick eye always detected her 
father's sadness, and she used to try to chase 
it away by all the loving wiles which she could 
devise. To the others round her she often 
talked of dying; but, since the time that she 
saw her father's distress when the subject was 
approached, she never had the courage to intro- 
duce it again, though there were many things 
she wanted to say to him. 

She kept watching Ellis with wistful eyes 
as she gathered and carried away from her 
room the scattered gifts for the peasant friends 
she loved so well. 

After they were "all cleared away, she lay 
quietly back on the sofa, and there was a far- 
away look in her eyes that made her father un- 
willing to ask where her thoughts were. Pres- 
ently she turned to him, and said in a low, 


nervous tone, " Papa, I want to ask you some- 
thing. May I do exactly as I like with all my 
own things ? " 

" Certainly, darling. What treasure do 
you wish to send to the little Morag? But 
I thought Ellis was doubtful if she could stow 
all the things you have already sent, eh, 

" Oh, I did not mean in the box, papa ! 
But you know it cannot be very long now 
before I have to leave you and everything," 
and Blanche's fluttering fingers, so wan and 
wasted now, played nervously with her father's 
hand as she spoke. 

" Of course you will keep everything you 
want and Miss Prosser and Ellis will, too. 
But I should like Morag to have some of my 
things when I am gone. She has so fc\v pretty 
things in the hut ; and besides, I really do think 
she would like to have them, just because they 
are mine, and they will remind her of me when 
Pm far away ; " and Blanche glanced round the 
room at the pretty statuettes and pictures, and 
the rows of nicely-bound books, of which she 
used to tell Morag, as they rambled among the 
woods and braes of Glen Eagle. 

" Yes, my darling ; Morag shall have what- 
ever you like," replied Mr. Clifford with an 

344 MORAG. 

effort, as soon as he was able to speak ; and 
presently he continued : " My child, perhaps 
I should tell you that you have a great deal 
more to give away than your books and pictures. 
You are what people call an heiress, Blanchie. 
Your mother left you a large fortune, and, be- 
sides, you will have all that belongs to me. 
Ah, my child ! will you not live ? I cannot 
let you go ! There is such a bright future 
in store for you so many hopes bound up in 
this dear life ! " 

" Yes, papa, dear ; the future is bright," re- 
plied Blanche, smiling. " I was reading about 
it only this morning 'an inheritance, incor- 
ruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.' 
I learnt the words. It was strange I never 
remember hearing them till to-day. But I 
suppose God just speaks His own words to us 
when we need them and will listen to them. 
It's all right, papa, dear," she continued as she 
put her arm round her father's neck, as he sat 
with his head resting on his hand, absorbed in 
his own sad thoughts. " I know the Lord 
Jesus Christ will comfort you when I am gone. 
And then, you know, papa dear, you will not 
be so very long in coming, and I shall be wait- 
ing for you, oh ! so eagerly, and we shall be so 
happy together in the home of God ! " 


" Is it not rather difficult for rich people to 
be good, papa ? " asked Blanche, after she had 
laid pondering a short time. " If I had lived, 
perhaps I might have grown into a grand lady 
like some of Ellis's mistresses that she tells 
me about and got selfish and bad when I 
grew old. But now, papa, dear, I shall always 
be your own foolish little Blanchie," and she 
nestled in her father's arm, as he stroked the 
long fair curls the last symbol of health that 

After she had again laid musing for some 
time, Blanche sat up, and with some of her old 
eagerness she said 

" Papa, I've just been thinking that Morag 
is so gentle, and so clever, and so fond of 
books, that I'm sure she would grow up very 
learned if she were educated. I know she 
would like lessons a great deal more than I used 
to do, and be much more diligent. Have I 
enough money to educate Morag, papa? " 

" Yes, darling, quite enough ; and if you 
wish it, it shall be done," replied Mr. Clifford 
huskily, for this conversation was almost too 
painful for him to continue. 

" But after all, papa, very clever people, who 
know everything, are not always very happy or 
good are they ? And, besides, I really do not 

346 MO RAG. 

see how her father and Kirsty could get on 
without Morag. And then she is so faithful 
and loving perhaps she could never be per- 
suaded to leave them, to be made a lady of in 
the world beyond her mountains," said Blanche, 
smiling, as the image of her shy little mountain 
friend rose before her. 

" No, papa, dear," she said presently, after 
thinking quietly for a little ; " I really think we 
must give up that idea after all. I do believe 
the Lord Jesus Christ would like best that Mo- 
rag should stay in the Glen and make her 
father and Kirsty comfortable and happy as 
they get older. But I'll tell you what we 
might do, papa, dear. "Would there be enough 
money to build a nice new house for Morag 
and her father ? That hut among the crags 
must tumble to pieces one day before long, I 
should think, though certainly Morag does make 
it look as nice as possible," added Blanche, pa- 
thetically, for she remembered well the morning 
on which she saw it last. 

Her father listened with a sad interest as 
Blanche told the story of that day's troubles, 
and how sorry she had been to leave Glen 
Eagle without taking farewell of her mountain 
friend. And as she told how she had hurried 
m> the hill to the little shieling among the 


crags, only to find it empty, and glowingly 
described the pleasant interior into which her 
friend had transformed the once wretched hut, 
the scene seemed to come vividly to her mem- 
ory, and to bring with it an intense desire for 
life, as she lay on the borders of the far-off 

Some hot tears stole down her cheeks, and 
with quivering lip and clasped hands she gazed 
wistfully into her father's face as she said 

" O papa ! if I could only walk one after- 
noon with Morag in the fir-w r ood, I almost 
think I should feel well again ! " 



|j T was a wild night at Stratheagle. An 
)j| eddying wind had been blowing the 
deep snow into wreaths, and fresh fall- 
ing flakes were whirling about in all 
directions through the darkness. 

All trace of the road through the mountain 
pass had disappeared ; and it would have fared 
ill with the Honorable Mr. Clifford's slim 
English footman, with his elegant calves, as he 
made his way towards the keeper's shieling 
among the crags, if he had not taken the pre- 
caution of securing a guide from the village 

The steep ascent to the hut was almost 
impassable, and more than once the man seemed 
disposed to give it up and beat a retreat to his 
quarters at the village without fulfilling his 
mission. But his more stalwart companion 
cheered him on, assuring him at intervals that 


it was only a " mile and a bittock," and point- 
ed to the light in the window of the hut long 
before it shed any encouraging ray on the 
exhausted flunkey, who went stumbling and 
grumbling up the hill through the blinding 
drift, feeling himself the most ill-used of per- 
sons to have been sent to such regions in such 

The light from the window of the hut was 
at last really visible, shimmering through the 
darkness, and soon the benighted travellers 
stood under the snowy crags which towered 
above the little shieling. 

Our old friend Morag was, meanwhile, 
comfortably seated in the ingle-neuk, reading 
laboriously from one of her ancient yellow- 
leaved volumes, little dreaming what was in 
store for her to-night. Her father sat near her 
smoking his evening pipe, but he was not 
staring into the fire in idleness and grim si- 
lence as of old. He seemed at the present mo- 
ment quite absorbed in a newspaper, the date 
of which was uncertain, seeing it had been 
torn otf when it was used for lining a packing- 
case of game during autumn. But though it 
was not a " day's paper," it seemed to satisfy 
the keeper's literary cravings, and he had care- 
fully perused it from beginning to end by the 

350 MO RAG. 

light of the fire of peat and pine, which blazed 
brightly on the hearth. 

The snow made a warm covering round the 
wall, and a secure white thatcli on the porous 
roof, so it happened that to-night the hut was 
really a more comfortable abode than it had 
often proved during autumn-days. 

Morag jumped to her feet when she heard 
the sound of voices and the loud knocking ; 
and now she stood gazing at her father with a 
look of startled surprise. 

Laying down his pipe, the keeper prepared 
to open the door, but before he had time to 
do so, the injured footman stood in the middle 
of the floor, stamping the snow from his feet, 
and inspecting his precious person generally, as 
he muttered expressions of indignation concern- 
ing this unpleasant piece of service which had 
fallen to his lot. 

Morag recognized the visitor at once, and 
forgetting her shyness, she sprang forward, 
saying, in low, eager tones, " Will ye no be 
frae the wee leddy o' the castle ? I'm thinkin' 
there maun be something wrang. Is she no 
weel ? " 

" Miss Clifford, I presume you mean, little 
girl. Well, you are right, so far. I come 
from her father my master, the Honorable 


Mr. Clifford. I think I've got a letter for you ; 
but 'pon ray word it's been at the risk of my 
life bringin' it here. S'pose I'd better read it 
myself?" said he, looking round patronizingly 
at the keeper. 

And without waiting for a reply, he tore 
open the closed envelope, amid the smoulder- 
ing indignation of the keeper, to whom it was 
evidently addressed, and began to read as fol- 
lows : 

" Will Morag come to London immediately to see her 
little f rieiid Blanche, \\ ho is very ill and wants to see 
her? The Keener may safely trust his daughter to the 
servant, who has got all directions how to proceed. 


"Quite safe with me, depend upon it; the 
master is quite right there ! " said the servant, 
smiling blandly at the confidence reposed in him. 

" Well, little girl, what do you say to it ? 
You will come, I suppose? The master has 
set his 'art on it, sure enough or he would 
not have been sendin' me to the hends of the 
earth on such a night as this. I have a trap 
hired at the village, all ready to start in the 
morning. What do you say to it, keeper? 
rather sudden, for such quiet folks as you, ain't 
it?" continued the man, smilingly glancing at 
the sileat, offended keeper. 

352 MORAG. 

Morag sat thinking in dumb silence for a 
little, but presently she sprang up, and taking 
hold of her father's arm, she said in her low, 
eager tone, " O father ! ye mustna hinner me ; 
the bonnie wee leddy is ill, and wantin' me 
and I maun gang ! " 

Then turning to the messenger, Morag 
asked imploringly, " She's no jist sae verra ill, 
is she?" 

"Bad enough, I guess. 'Tis a pity such 
a pretty little miss she was getting to be. 
Master so bound up in her, too ! " 

" Well, keeper, how is it to be ? for I've 
got to go down that shockin' precipice again 
and it's getting late. I'll take good care of 
the young 'un, you may be sure. And, depend 
upon it, you won't be the loser, noways, by 
fallin' in with master's views," added the ser- 
vant, with a nod of meaning which made the 
proud keeper resolve instantly that his daugh- 
ter should not obey the summons. 

But never before had Morag been so wildly 
wilful on any matter. Her father felt quite 
taken by storm as he listened to her pleadings, 
though he could not yet be persuaded to give 
his consent. 

The servant stood waiting with evident im- 
patience, and at last a compromise was arranged, 


to the effect that if Morag was to accompany 
him, she would be brought to the village inn 
by her father next morning, before the hour of 

It was almost midnight when Dingwall 
might be seen toiling across the moorland, 
through the snow, in the direction of Kirsty's 
cottage. The old woman and he were fast 
friends now, and he wanted to ask her advice 
on the startling proposal concerning the little 
girl who was so precious to them both. 

He found Kirsty sitting quietly reading her 
Bible beside the dying peat embers. Taking 
off her spectacles, she listened placidly to the 
story, and presently she replied in low, em- 
phatic tones, "Dinna limner the bairn, keeper. 
Lat her gang, by a' means. 'Deed, I'm near 
aweai's o' gaen mysel'. The bonnie larabie 
an' sae He's til tak' her hame til Himsel? 
Weel, weel, I thocht as muckle, whiles, when 
she was comin' aboot us wi' a' her winsome 
ways. May she hae been early seekin' the 
face she will maybe see gin lang ! '' 

So Morag gained her point. Her travelling 
preparations were not long in being made; 
and, though she had not many hours of sleep 
that night, she was all ready to go down the 
hill with her father in the morning. 

354 MO RAG. 

Just before she started, Kenneth came run- 
ning up to the shieling in breathless haste. 
He carried with him the old tartan plaid 
which had done such sad duty in the fir-wood. 
Wrapping it carefully round Morag, he stood 
watching her wistfully, as she started in the 
grey dawn of a December morning on this 
first journey into the world beyond the moun- 
tains ! 


It was Christmas Eve. A fresh fall of 
snow lay spotless and shining on the ground. 
The moon was giving a clear, plentiful light, 
and as it shimmered on the snow-covered 
streets and squares, it seemed suddenly to trans- 
form them into groups of stately marble palaces. 

A pleasant crimson glow came from the 
close-curtained \\ indows of Mr. Clifford's Lon- 
don mansion, shedding a warm, rosy light on 
the white crisp pavement in front, where stood 
a group of German lads singing a fine rolling 
Christmas carol. 

Little did they guess how dreary and ten- 
antless those rooms were to-night, which seemed 
to them to enclose such a paradise of delights 
as they kept gazing up to the windows, in the 
hope of an appreciative audience from within 
the crimson glow. 


They did not know that the sorrowful in- 
terest of the household was centred in one 
darkened room, where the only child of the 
house lay, with life ebbing slowly away ; nor 
that the largess which seemed so munificent 
came from a little hand that was soon to take 
farewell of all earthly treasures. 

They were still singing, by way of gra- 
cious acknowledgment of so handsome a gift, 
when a cab drove up to the door of the house, 
and out of it stepped our little friend, Morag. 
The tall footman, her escort, ran up the broad 
steps, while the little mountaineer stood on 
the pa\ r ement gazing round, bewildered in the 
midst of a scene so new and strange. 

And this was her bonnie wee leddy's home. 
Did people always stand there and sing beau- 
tifully, she wondered, as she glanced at the 
German band and then at the many bright- 
curtained windows of Blanche Clifford's Lon- 
don home. 

At length the great hall door was opened, 
and a blaze of light fell on the snowy steps. 
Within were vistas of gilded pillars and cor- 
"idors, and glimpses of bright soft hangings. 
To Morag's dazzled eyes, it seemed like the 
entrance to an enchanted palace. She trem- 
blingly followed her guide, and the door was 

350 MORAG. 

closed behind her, as the singing boys were 
watching with interest the little girl who 
looked so eagerly at everything ; and somehow 
seemed to remind them of their sisters and 
their homes in the Black Forest. 

Another tall footman, the fac-simile of 
Morag's guide, had opened the door, and now 
he stood gazing, more curiously than kindly, at 
the stranger. 

"Law, Thomas! what 'ave we got here? 
"Weil, I never. Where did you catch that 'un," 
he said, with a rude laugh as he stood staring 
at the little girl. 

Poor Morag certainly presented a grotesque 
enough appearance as she stood there in the 
brightly-lighted hall, wrapped in the great tar- 
tan plaid, which was fastened behind, while the 
ends fell on the ground. And on her head she 
wore a little scarlet hood, a relic of her infancy, 
which she had taken from the depths of the old 
kist feeling certain that Ellis would look on 
her more favorably if she wore a bonnet. 
But, unfortunately, the hood was of such small 
dimensions that it had a constant tendency to- 
wards the back of her neck, leaving her black 
elf -like locks streaming around. 

" Come now, Sparks, none of your cheek. 
She's the nicest little shaver possible an un- 


common decent little thing ; wasn't no trouble 
on the way, neither ; always turned up all right 
when a fellow wanted to go and smoke a pipe, 
or get a drop of somethink. My word, I'd 
go back with her to-morrow, I would.'' 

" Where's Ellis ? ring for her, will you ? I 
must get this little girl off my hands now. 
How is missie, by the way ? " 

" Better again, to-day, they say. Master 
is looking brisker, too. Dreadful dull Christ- 
mas-time for a fellow, though. There's Ellis 
wouldn't laugh for a sovereign." 

Meanwhile, Morag stood looking eagerly 
round. She felt sure that she would see her bon- 
nie wee leddy emerge from some of those vis- 
tas of brightness ; but when she did not come, 
the little girl began to feel very forlorn as she 
stood there in the hall. She could not under- 
stand what the servants were saying, and she 
began to wonder what was going to happen 
next, and longed for a sight of her gracious lit- 
tle friend, who never had failed her before. 

Morag had no idea how seriously ill Blanche 
was, and she had been hoping during her jour- 
ney that perhaps her bonnie wee leddy might 
be quite well again by the time she arrived. She 
had got so quickly well after the loch adven- 
ture ; and Morag could riot conceive of her 

358 MORAG. 

looking more fragile that she did on that even- 
ing when she saw her last, in the old castle of 
Glen Eagle, lying on the sofa, wrapped in her 
blue flannel dressing-gown. 

At length Ellis came bustling along ; and 
even she was a welcome sight to poor Morag 
in her forlornness. 

" "Well, little girl ; how d'ye do. Yery glad to 
see you : never thought I should feel so glad to 
see you. I thought you would come to see inis- 
sie. Miss Prosser told me the master had sent 
for you. Miss Clifford does know not yet. She's 
so weak, you see ; any hagitation is bad, but I 
daresay you will see her in the morning. It's 
a good step from the 'ighlands ain't it ? I 
expect you are tired poor thing," said Ellis, 
glancing rather pityingly at Morag's wistful 

" I'm no that tired. But she's no jist verra 
ill, is she ? I thocht maybe she would hae been 
weel gin noo,'' said Morag, ruefully returning 
to the subject that lay nearest her heart, as Ellis 
led her along what seemed to her a maze of 
brightly-lighted passages. 

" It wasna fallin' intil the loch that hurtit 
her, think ye ? 5? she asked presently. 

"Well, now, I shouldn't wonder though 
that chill had something to do with it," replied 


Ellis, as if she had received a new idea. " Poor 
dear missie, she is so sweet almost too good 
to live, as the sayin' is. She's much better to- 
day. I daresay she'll be able to have a look at 
you to-morrow." 

Morag's heart sank. The thought of see- 
ing her bonnie wee leddy at the end of her 
journey had kept her brave through its fears 
and discomforts ; but now she heard that an- 
other night must elapse before they could meet, 
and she would be left alone among all those 
strangers. It seemed so cruel and hard ; and 
Morag felt sure that if her wee leddy knew she 
was here, she would not ask her to wait till 

Meanwhile, Ellis led the way to the house- 
keeper's room, leaving Morag to be warmed 
and fed and generally comforted by Mrs. Wor- 
thy. The old housekeeper welcomed the for- 
lorn little maiden kindly, and after divesting 
her of the tartan plaid, and providing a comfort- 
able supper, she made her sit down in a big 
arm-chair by the fire, and, taking a similar 
one for herself, she began to recall reminis- 
cences of Glen Eagle, and to make inquiries 
about the dwellers in the Glen whose aquairit- 
aiice she had made during these autumn months. 

Presently. Blanche's illness became the topic 

360 MORAG. 

of conversatipn, and Morag listened eagerly 
to all Mrs. Worthy had to say about it. Her 
heart sank when she heard how very ill her 
bonnie wee leddy had been. After looking 
meditatively into the fire for some time, she 
looked up and said eagerly, " I'm thinkin', Mis- 
tress Worthy, gin they wad jist bring her til the 
auld castle o' Glen Eagle to bide, and lat her 
rin aboot wi' Shag and Chance and me, when 
the snaw gaes awa, and the bit flooers begin to 
creep up, she w r ad get braw and strong again." 

" Well, there's no say in', little girl. I likes 
to see young folks take a cheerin' view of 
things. 'While there's life, there's 'ope,' I 
always say. There's my Sarah Jane was once 
a-spittin' up and there ain't a stronger wom- 
an to be found nowhere, now ; and there's" 

Here Mrs. Worthy's family chronicle of ill- 
nesses was interrupted by a bell ringing vio- 
lently within the room. It sounded so start- 
ling, that Morag jumped to her feet, and even 
Mrs. Worthy looked somewhat alarmed as she 
rose to answer it. 

" -Bless me, it ain't often that bell is a ring- 
in' so shockin' loud, too ! What's the hurry. 
I wonder?" and the old woman bustled away, 
leaviiig her companion alone. 

Morag thought she could guess why the 


bell had just rung ; and hoped that it might 
prove a summons for her to go to the bonnie 
wee leddy. She sat listening eagerly for the 
sound of returning footsteps, but' no messenger 
appeared ; so Morag's hope died away at last, 
and she began to feel very forlorn indeed. 

As she sat, looking dreamily into the flicker- 
ing fire, she remembered another evening when 
she found herself seated in Mrs. Worthy's 
arm-chair, in the midst of unwonted comforts, 
and how very frightened and uncomfortable 
she was till the wee leddy had suddenly ap- 
peared and made her feel so safe and happy. 
And as she gazed among the glowing coals, 
she realized, as she never had before, what an 
eventful evening that had been, and how much 
had happened during these never-to-be-forgot- 
ten autumn days. All at once, her lonely 
child-life seemed to be filled with love and 
brightness, and the very hills and glens of her 
mountain home to be glorified, as she strayed 
among them with her bonnie wee leddy. And 
then the friendship with Kirsty Macpherson 
had grown out of these days too, and what 
happy changes it had brought to the little 
shieling among the crags! Her father's brow 
was cleared of its perpetual gloom ; he never 
said bitter things about his neighbors in the 

362 MORAG. 

Glen now, and when Morag and he went to- 
gether to the kirk, so many people seemed 
glad to see him there. 

And as Morag Dingwall's thoughts went 
slipping back to these golden autumn days, 
that had been so full of blessing for her, she 
lifted up her heart in thankfulness to God for 
the best thing among all the many good things 
which they had brought to her the knowl- 
edge of the Lord Jesus Christ, her Saviour. 
Had the wee leddy learnt to love Him too, she 
wondered, as she remembered the last talk in 
Glen Eagle ; and then she thought, joyfully, 
how much there would be to hear and tell to- 
morrow, when Ellis had promised she should 
see her friend. 

As she sat gazing into the fire, Morag 
fell asleep in the big arm-chair; and in her 
dreams she thought she was again with Blanche, 
struggling through the rippling water, like 
the .Pilgrims in the picture. But neither 
of them appeared to feel frightened, as they 
had when they were almost drowned in the 
loch. At first the water seemed smooth and 
shining, and Morag could hear the bonuie wee 
leddy 's silvery voice calling to her to come 
away, for she saw the Golden City quite clearly 
now and that the gates were really wide open 


still, though it was so late at night. Then 
Morag, all at once, began to feel afraid, for 
she could see no city lying in the sun ; but 
only a great leaden-looking wave, which came 
creeping towards her, throwing its gray shadow 
on the shining water; then she lost sight of 
her bonnie wee leddy, and could only hear her 
voice calling her to come. But Morag thought 
she could not cross the dark wave, and the 
silvery voice began to sound very far away ; 
and at last she awoke, trembling, feeling so 
glad to think that after all it was only a dream. 

The fire, which had been so bright and 
warm when she fell asleep, was now cold and 
black. The candles, too, were almost burnt to 
their sockets; and Morag saw that she must 
have slept for a long time. She began to won- 
der where Mrs. "Worthy was, and whether they 
meant to leave her there, till they came to 
take her to see the bonnie wee leddy in the 

She would not have treated her so, thought 
Morag, with quivering lip, as she looked blankly 
round the solitary room, where everything 
seemed so gray and cheerless, and she shivered 
as she remembered the leaden wave of her 
dream, and began to feel very frightened and 
homesick, besides being cold and wearied. 

364 MORAG, 

Presently she heard the sound of footsteps 
re-echoing along the silent corridor, and Mrs. 
Worthy walked slowly into the room with her 
nightcap on. In her hand she carried a candle, 
which she almost dropped in her astonishment 
at seeing Morag seated there. 

" Bless my soul, child ! are you here still ? 
I was just on my way to bed. I declare I 
had quite forgotten all about you. Dear, dear, 
my 'ead's quite confused and no wonder! 
Poor dear, you must be sadly tired. Too 
bad of Ellis not to have taken you to bed. 
She promised to see after you when she was 
sent along to you. I've just only now come 
from missie's room dear angel : she does look 
so sweet. You'll see her to-morrow, my poor 

And then, noticing Morag's wistful look as 
she murmured, " No the nicht," the old woman 
pondered for a while, and taking the candle 
again, she said, " Well, well, there can't be no 
'arm : they are all cleared away now ! Come, 
I'll take you, poor dear. You haven't been 
well treated noways among us all, and I heard 
the master tell Ellis that she was to look to 
yon, and he would see yon himself to-morrow." 

Morag's heart leapt for joy. If she could 
only see her bonnie wee leddy even for a uiin- 


ate, and feel her protecting touch again, she 
would forget all her past troubles and be quite 
safe and happy in this strange land. 

She followed Mrs. Worthy with joyful steps 
as she led her along the passages, which were 
cold and dark now. She smiled as she thought 
how astonished the wee leddy would be to 
see her mountain friend, for she remembered 
Ellis had said that she was not to be told of her 
arrival till next morning ; but it was so good 
and kind of Mrs. Worthy to take her now. 
And then she tried to picture to herself how 
Blanche would be looking. Would she find 
her lying on a sofa, dressed in her pretty blue 
dressing-gown, which she wore on the evening 
she saw her last at the old castle of Glen Eagle ? 
And would she seem much paler than she did 
then ? Morag feared she might, when she re- 
membered what a long time she had laid in bed ; 
but summer days would soon come again, and 
the sunshine, which the bonnie leddy loved so 
well, would be sure to make her strong again. 

Indeed, in her secret heart, Morag cherished 
the hope that her own presence might act as a 
talisman, and she smiled to think of the pleasant 
voice that would soon bid her welcome; for, 
since the dark hour in the fir- wood, when she 
thought Blanche had left the Glen without re- 

366 MORAG. 

membering to say farewell, Morag had never 
doubted the love and friendship of her gracious 
little friend. 

At last Mrs. Worthy stopped at a closed 
door, and as she lowered the candle which she 
held in her hand, Morag caught sight of a fa- 
miliar friend lying on the mat. 

Chance was waiting there in a listening pos- 
ture, with his nose against the door. Morag 
stooped down and patted him, but, instead of 
jumping up at her in outrageous welcome, as he 
used to do, he merely gave a faint wag of his 
tail, and looking wistfully into her face, raised 
a low, whining cry, and put his nose close to 
the door again. 

" I'm thinkin' Chance will be wantin' in 
to get a sicht o' her too," said Morag, smiling. 

" Yes, poor brute ; hanimals has a deal of 
feelin'. He's been in a dreadful way ; indeed 
I thought they locked him up for the night, 
but he seems to have got loose again," replied 
Mrs. Worthy, as she opened the door and 
stepped softly in, followed by Morag and 

The little girl looked eagerly round among 
the mirrors and pictures and pretty statuettes 
for the face which had never failed before 
to smile a sunny welcome upon her, but her 


bonnie wee leddy was nowhere to be seen, 
and a terrible stillness seemed to pervade the 

Drawing aside the rose-colored curtains of 
a little bed, which Morag had not noticed in 
her eager glance round the room, Mrs. Worthy 
beckoned for the little girl to come near, and 
Morag looked at last on the face of her bonnie 
wee leddy. She seemed sleeping peacefully ; 
the golden curls lay in rich masses on the 
pillow, and the fluttering fingers were at rest 
on the white coverlet. The room was dimly 
lighted, and a shadow fell from the curtain on 
her face ; so Morag drew closer that she might 
see her more clearly feeling a pang of disap- 
pointment that she was asleep. But had not 
Ellis said that to-morrow morning she would 
speak to her ? and she could wait. 

" She's sleepin' richt soun' the noo, I'm 
thinkiu'," she whispered softly to Mrs. Worthy, 
who was holding back the curtain. 

"Sleeping! yes, my little dear, you are 
right. Children does put things nice at times. 
Dear angel not dead, but sleeping: a long, 
long sleep, till the resurrection morn ! " 

With a long, low cry of anguish, Morag 
knelt beside the dead body of her bonnie wee 
leddy, and kissed her cold, dead hand ! 

368 MORAG. 

She understood it all now. Blanche Clif- 
ford had passed away on this Christmas Eve 
from our lower world with all its lights and 
shadows, all its wealth and all its woe to that 
other, where the pure in heart are perfectly 
blessed, for they see God ! 

Perhaps here we should take farewell of 
our mountain maiden ; for, with the passing 
away from earth of her bonnie wee leddy, 
ended the childhood of Morag Dingwall, never 
again to visit her, save in dreams of the night 
and memories of the past ! 

We shall but cast a glance across the vista 
of years, when these autumn days lay far away 
in the calm, clear distance, and seem like a tale 
that is told ; when Kirsty has laid down her 
frail body to sleep in the little graveyard on 
the hillside, to await the coming of the Lord 
she loved so well; when the keen eyes of 
the keeper Dingwall no longer scan the hills 
and moors of Glen Eagle, nor his steady hand 
takes unerring aim ; for his stalwart form lies 
mouldering in the shadow of the hills he has 
so often trod ! 

The keeper's earthly life had closed in the 
midst of less vivid hopes, perhaps, and shad- 
owed by more bitter memories, than Kirsty's 


blameless years had wrought. But he, too, 
had learnt to live in the faith and hope of 
the words which welcomed him to the table 
of the Lord below, and to know it to be a 
" faithful saving, that ' Jesus Christ came into 
the world to save sinners.' " 

The shieling among the crags, which had 
been his home so long, was a roofless ruin now. 
And long dank grass and nettles grew on the 
earthen floor, which had proved, of old, such a 
sea of trouble to the little Morag. 

Kenneth Macpherson, Kirsty's grandson, 
reigned over the realms of deer and moor-fowl 
in the Glen now ; and the keeper's daughter 
had become the keeper's wife. 

Their home was the loveliest spot in all the 
strath a pleasant, light, airy, well-built cot- 
tage, placed at a sunny angle of the pine forest, 
which protected it from the cold north winds 
when they swept along the Glen. 

Firwood Neuk, for so it had been called by 
its owners, possessed every pretty and useful 
accessory, within and without, which peasant 
life could require. It was quite a model home- 
stead, with its wealthy barn-yard and farm- 
stead, and its pretty productive garden the 
last earthly gift of a little vanished hand, which 
had dropped its earthly treasures as she used 

370 MORAG. 

to do her wild flowers in these woods long ago, 
when anything more precious came in sight. 

Mr. Clifford never came to shoot in Glen 
Eagle again ; but, nevertheless, he was more 
than faithful to the wishes of his child, and 
Blanche's friends lacked for nothing which 
money could supply humbly and gratefully 
accepted by these proud Highland spirits as 
the benefaction of the gracious child who had 
loved them all so well. 

Often, indeed, Mr. Clifford had been tempt- 
ed, during the earlier years, to go beyond his 
daughter's wishes when he noticed Morag's in- 
satiable thirst for knowledge : to take her from 
her quiet haunts, and bring art and culture to 
aid in her training. But he called to mind 
Blanche's wise decision, and left the child of 
the mountains to her "lowlier, more unlet- 
tered fate." 

Still, Morag's intellectual cravings were not 
unprovided for. In one of the rooms of her 
pleasant home there stood a pretty book-case 
filled with rows of shining books another 
memorial of Blanche's love. And, among the 
handsome bin 'ings, there were interspersed 
certain old, worn books, which were very dear 
to Morag's heart, for had they not been taken 
from the depths of the old kist ? and stood 


there, among the newer volumes, like ancient 
historical monuments surrounded by pretty 
modern villas. 

It was the twelfth of August, and the 
keeper's wife stood waiting in the gloaming 
for her husband, who had not yet returned 
from the moors. 

The work of the day was done, and the 
children safely folded for the night, for there 
were young voices again re-echoing through 
tne forest, and little feet toddling among the 
brown fir-needles. 

Her husband was not yet in sight, so pres- 
ently Morag wandered into the fir-wood, where 
the great aisles of pine reared themselves calm 
and stately as of old. 

Leaning against one of the old red firs, 
which seemed written over with many memor- 
ies to her, she called to mind one August day 
long ago. And as she stood gazing dreamily 
there, she seemed to see again the lovely, sing- 
ing child, coming like a happy fate towards the 
desolate little maiden who leant there on that 
bright morning, to hear again the " glad tidings 
of great joy" borne unconsciously by the silvery 
voice to a listening ear and waiting soul, and 
to feel the soft, sisterly touch of the little flut- 

872 MO RAG. 

tering hand that sent glow and warmth to a 
heart which, but for that touch of human sym- 
pathy, might have turned to stone. 

Morag had seen many gentle ladies, old and 
young, since these autumn days long ago. The 
solitary Glen had got into guide-books now, 
and every year brought many strangers to roam 
among its woods and hills; but never could 
any other dwell in her memory as Blanche 
Clifford did never, she thought, could she see 
" her like again ! " 

Many a year had come and gone since that 
memorable twelfth of August, when the south- 
ern guests came to seek their pleasure among 
the moors of Glen Eagle. Silver lines were 
visible on Morag's once raven black locks, and 
her step was slower than it used to be, as she 
sauntered through the old red fir-trees, which 
were all aglow in the sunset. 

With a sigh of weariness she at last seated 
herself on a gray, lichen-spotted dyke which 
skirted the forest. 

" Ay ! and she'll aye be young, though I'm 
growin' auld," she murmured, for she still 
retained her ancient habit of speaking her 
thoughts aloud, acquired n her solitary child- 

Leaning her head upon her hand, she sat 


watching the sun as it sank behind the old 
castle of Glen Eagle. 

The amber clouds were hovering round the 
dying sun, like ponderous gates ready to close 
on the inner "vistas of gold and crimson. Mo- 
rag sat gazing with glistening eyes at the 
cloud-land scene ; she well knew that " richest 
teuderest glow" which lingers round the autum- 
nal sun, and always loved to w r atch it. 

" But there sight fails ; no heart may know 
The bliss when life is done." 

" It's growin' cauld and mirk, and I maun 
be goin' home," murmured Morag, as she rose 
to go down the hill, when all had faded into 
grey twilight. Then she added, softly : " She 
liket weel to see the sun gae doun amang oor 
hills ; an' it aye miu's me upo' her. Bon- 
nie wee leddy ! ' Thy* sun shall no more go 
down, neither shall thy moon withdraw its 
sinning, for the Lord is thine everlasting light, 
and thy God thy glory.' " 


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